James Beard Foundation’s Fifth Annual Taste America Tour Kicks Off Friday

The James Beard Foundation’s (JBF) Fifth Annual Taste America national culinary tour kicks off in Phoenix this Friday. Phoenix, which will be hosting Taste America for the fifth time as of this year, is one of 10 dynamic destinations the culinary tour is visiting through November 11. The other nine cities are Austin, Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Each city on the tour will host a weekend of events including an unforgettable benefit dinner, called A Night of Culinary Stars, prepared by a traveling Taste America All-Star, a Local Star chef, and a pastry chef. The Taste America programming will also include free in-store consumer events at select Sur La Table locations, featuring celebrity chef appearances, cooking demonstrations, book signings, tastings from local producers and artisans, and more.

In Phoenix, a preview of the festivities takes place September 20, with a special panel discussion featuring producer Kathleen Squires and a screening of James Beard: America’s First Foodie, honoring the Foundation’s legendary namesake. Phoenix’s events will also include a sold-out welcome reception held at Fox Restaurant Concepts’ Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend on September 21, as well as a special cake celebrating the dual fifth anniversaries at the benefit dinner, provided by pastry chef Tammie Coe (Tammie Coe Cakes; Phoenix).

Below is the 2017 Taste America program calendar:

Sept. 22-23

  • Phoenix: All-Star Traci Des Jardins*; Local Star Nobuo Fukuda*

Oct. 6-7    

  • Los Angeles: All-Star Barbara Lynch*; Local Star Michael Cimarusti**
  • New Orleans: All-Star Rocco DiSpirito**; Local Star Rebecca Wilcomb*

Oct. 13-14  

  • Philadelphia: All-Star Marc Murphy*; Local Star Greg Vernick*
  • Seattle: All-Star Ashley Christensen*; Local Star Matt Dillon*

Oct. 27-28

  • Chicago: All-Star Michael Voltaggio; Local Star Stephanie Izard*
  • San Francisco: All-Star Hugh Acheson*; Local Stars Stuart Brioza* & Nicole Krasinski* 

Nov. 3-4     

  • Austin: All-Star Ludo Lefebvre**; Local Star Tyson Cole*
  • Boston: All-Star Daniel Boulud*; Local Star Karen Akunowicz**

Nov. 10-11  

  • Kansas City: All-Star Tony Mantuano*; Local Star Debbie Gold*

*Notes James Beard Award Winner

**Notes James Beard Award Nominee

The James Beard Foundation is proud to donate a portion of the weekends’ proceeds to the Taste America Scholarship Fund. Local culinary students in the 10 participating states were invited to apply for this culinary scholarship between April 1 and May 15, 2017, via jamesbeard.org. Candidates are reviewed by the JBF Scholarship Selection Committee, chaired by JBF president Susan Ungaro.

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