Sunday, March 22, 2015

Taste of the Nation has helped fight hunger for 25 years.

On August 9, 2014 I went to the Orlando World Center Marriott (8701 World Center Drive Orlando FL) to sketch Taste of the Nation which is the nation's premiere culinary benefit dedicated to making sure no kid grows up hungry. Each spring and summer, the nation's top chefs and mixologists donate their time, talent and passion at nearly 40 Taste of the Nation events across the United States and Canada with the goal to raise critical funds needed to end childhood hunger. No Kid Hungry, Share our Strength, organizes the events. The beneficiary's in Orlando are, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida.

Second Harvest Food Bank secures and distributes food and grocery products to approximately 550 local nonprofit feeding programs throughout Central Florida. Last year with the help of donors, volunteers,  and a caring community, the food bank distributed nearly 64 million pounds of grocery products- the equivalent of more than 53 million meals. On average more than 55,000 people receive assistance provided by Second harvest every week. Second Harvest recently moved into a new 100,000 square foot hunger relief center. This puts the bank in a position to fill the gap of what our community really needs.

Coalition for the Homeless was founded in 1987 by concerned citizens who noticed the growing problem of homelessness in our community. It has grown into the largest provider of homeless services in Central Florida and the largest residential facility for children. Their mission is to transform lives of homeless men, women and children by providing critical services to end their crisis of homelessness. The Coalition has three residential facilities and an off site community housing program. Case managers develop individualized self sufficiency plans which include educational opportunities, job skill training, budget management, counseling and more. Services are provided to over 600 people each night including 150 children. They served over 300,000 meals and provided over 245,000 nights of shelter last year.

I decided to sketch the Captains Grille (Epcot, 1700 Epcot Resort Blvd., Orlando, FL) as they set up and served patrons. They served a plate that had cauliflower puree topped with pan seared scallops. Mixed greens were mixed with spiced rum raisins with hazelnut vinaigrette and placed on top. To say it was delicious is an understatement.  The chef shared the recipe but I can not share it for legal reasons. I plan to try and make it myself someday since this culinary army made it look so easy.  The scallop dish was ironically the only plate I got to taste. By the time my sketch was done all the food vendors were packing up. $301,317 was raised at the Orlando Taste of the Nation to fight hunger.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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