Taste of the Nation

Top Texas culinary talent turns out to help hungry Houston kids

Top Texas culinary talent turns out to help hungry Houston kids

Taste of the Nation Chita Craft Katherine Whaley Chris Wadley Jennifer Jordan
Chita Craft, emcee Katherine Whaley, Chris Wadley, and Jennifer Jordan. Photo by Quy Tran
Taste of the Nation Felice Sloan Shanna Jones Julie Julez
Felice Sloan, Shanna Jones, and Julie Julez.  Photo by Quy Tran
Taste of the Nation State Fare margarita
State Fare served up a margarita. Photo by Quy Tran
Taste of the Nation Daniel Vaughn, Ryan Pera, Rebecca Masson, Alba Huerta
Event chairs Daniel Vaughn, Ryan Pera, Rebecca Masson, and Alba Huerta.  Photo by Quy Tran
Taste of the Nation Karen Henry, Benjamin  Berg, Shelby Hodge, Shafik Rifaat
Karen Henry, Ben Berg, Shelby Hodge, and Shafik Rifaat.  Photo by Quy Tran
Taste of the Nation crowd shot
The crowd fill Silver Street studios. Photo by Quy Tran
Taste of the Nation Ryan Miller Brandon Bourque, Derrick Shore
Ryan Miller, Brandon Bourque, Derrick Shore. Photo by Quy Tran
Taste of the Nation Bernie's Burger Bus lobster rolls
Lobster rolls by Bernie's Burger Bus.  Photo by Quy Tran
Taste of the Nation Chita Craft Katherine Whaley Chris Wadley Jennifer Jordan
Taste of the Nation Felice Sloan Shanna Jones Julie Julez
Taste of the Nation State Fare margarita
Taste of the Nation Daniel Vaughn, Ryan Pera, Rebecca Masson, Alba Huerta
Taste of the Nation Karen Henry, Benjamin  Berg, Shelby Hodge, Shafik Rifaat
Taste of the Nation crowd shot
Taste of the Nation Ryan Miller Brandon Bourque, Derrick Shore
Taste of the Nation Bernie's Burger Bus lobster rolls

What: Taste of the Nation benifitting No Kid Hungy

Where: Silver Street Studios

The scoop: Foodie fundraisers are a dime a dozen, but the annual Taste of the Nation event is special. The cause helps; chefs take the task of feeding hungry children very seriously. In addition, enlisting co-chairs with serious culinary credibility in the form of Fluff Bake Bar owner Rebecca Masson, Julep owner Alba Huerta, Agricole Hospitality chef-owner Ryan Pera, and Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn, Taste of the Nation attracts top talent from restaurants that typically shun tasting events.

So, yes, that was James Beard Award winner Justin Yu and Theodore Rex chef de cuisine Jason White serving up the restaurant's signature tomato toast a few steps away from another Beard winner, Chris Shepherd, doling out smoked boudin siu mai from the brunch menu at his white-hot new restaurant UB Preserv. Attendees also got a preview of Indianola, Agricole's eagerly-anticipated new restaurant that's opening in EaDo later this summer. Pera and executive chef Paul Lewis served a banh mi-style sandwich of chicken meatballs, pork pate, and shrimp. Chef Ryan Lachaine featured the strawberry gazpacho with blue crab that's a recent addition to his menu at Riel.  

Of course, all of those eats needed to be matched with corresponding sips. Houston bars ranging from Beaver's to State Fare to Axelrad and Johnny's Gold Brick all contributed signature cocktails, or attendees could opt for beer from Saint Arnold. 

Among the diverse array of sweet options, Masson led the way by serving wooden spoons covered in chocolate and passion fruit puree. Many attendees also found it hard to resist a chocolate chip cookie from Tiny's Milk & Cookies or a scoop of ice cream from Fat Cat Creamery. 

All together, the event raised over $150,000, which was bolstered by a range of silent auction items — Shepherd donated a bottle of Old Tub bourbon from 1970 that he was considering bidding on to return to his collection — as well as a contest for a $1,500 shopping spree from event sponsor Whole Foods. 

Who: Chita Craft, Shelby Hodge and Shafik Rifaat, Ben Berg, Ian Tucker, Dominick Lee, Natalie Harms, Madison Payne, Julie Julez, Shanna Jones, Felice Sloan, Mary Clarkson, Michael Fulmer, Lisa Gochman, Sara Jackson, Megha Tejpal, Lindsey Brown, Derrick Shore, and Share Our Strength executive vice president Chuck Scofield.