Taste of the NFL

NFL picks UH for gigantic Super Bowl foodie fundraiser with pricey admission

NFL selects UH as site for gigantic Super Bowl foodie fundraiser

Taste of the NFL Jon Buchanan, Robert Del Grande, Robert C. Robbins, Wayne Kostroski, Renu Khator, Mark Riley, Brent Gorman
Jon Buchanan, Robert Del Grande, Robert C. Robbins, Wayne Kostroski, Renu Khator, Mark Riley, Brent Gorman. Courtesy Photo
Taste of the NFL helmet
Taste of the NFL will be held February 4, 2017. Courtesy Photo
Wayne Kostroski, Brian Greene, Renu Khator, Robert C. Robbins, M.D, Sallie Sargent
Wayne Kostroski, Brian Greene, Renu Khator, Robert C. Robbins, Sallie Sargent. Courtesy Photo
Taste of the NFL seared beef
Pepper Seared Beef by UH chef Mark Riley. Courtesy Photo
Taste of the NFL Jon Buchanan, Robert Del Grande, Robert C. Robbins, Wayne Kostroski, Renu Khator, Mark Riley, Brent Gorman
Taste of the NFL helmet
Wayne Kostroski, Brian Greene, Renu Khator, Robert C. Robbins, M.D, Sallie Sargent
Taste of the NFL seared beef

Houstonians are starting to get a sense of the extent to which the Super Bowl will dominate life around the city for the week before the game. Even the charity events associated with the run up to the game are super-sized.

On Tuesday, Taste of the NFL announced that its Party with a Purpose will be held at the University of Houston on February 4, 2017, one night before Super Bowl Sunday. The event is similar to tasting fundraisers like the annual Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup and Best Bites Competition, but with an important twist.

Each NFL city is represented by a chef from one of its premier restaurants, who is then paired with a current or former NFL player. Cafe Annie chef-owner Robert Del Grande will represent Houston at the event, just as he did at first Taste of the NFL 26 years ago. As many as 2,500 people are expected to attend.

Autographs, photography, and social mingling are included in the price of admission, which starts at $700. Money raised at the event is distributed to the food banks in all 32 NFL cities. In the event’s history, it has raised over $25 million — enough to supply 200 million meals to families in need.

“We play a role that we’re really proud of,” said Taste of the NFL founder Wayne Kostroski at a press conference. “The players, the chefs, the celebrities, it’s not a paid gig. It’s everybody working out of their heart to help families — not only where the Super Bowl takes place but in each of the other 31 NFL cities. We’re very privileged to carry that banner and help people throughout the country.”

For the first time, Taste of the NFL has affiliated with a university to hold its event, and UH President Renu Khator couldn’t be more thrilled about the opportunity that hosting the event means for the school’s students, faculty, and staff.

“This is very exciting for us,” Khator said. “As you can see, it’s a party with a purpose. We are a university with a purpose. We are both mission-driven. Our missions have combined together. It’s about opportunities.”

In addition to UH, the Texas Medical Center will also participate as the official Chef Host for Taste of the NFL. Chef Jon Buchanan, executive chef of Medical Center restaurant Third Coast (the replacement for Trevisio), will represent TMC at the event. 

“Houston is a foodie town,” Khator said. “We have great food here. We’re going to welcome great chefs from all over. I think it’s going to be a fantastic event come Super Bowl.”