Culinary Events > Taste of the Nation

Atlanta Taste of the Nation

April 20, 2017

VIP Dinner Experience (Table for 10): $10,000
6:00pm - 10:00pm

Grand Tasting : $250
7:00pm - 10:00pm

Southern Exchange at 200 Peachtree

200 Peachtree Street NW #206
Atlanta, Georgia


Atlanta's Taste of the Nation

for No Kid Hungry

Celebrating 29 Years!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Southern Exchange at 200 Peachtree
200 Peachtree Street NW, #206
Atlanta, GA 30303

Event Chairmen: Pano Karatassos & George McKerrow

Prepare your taste buds for the return of the city’s most anticipated culinary event of the year, Atlanta’s Taste of the Nation® for No Kid Hungry. Celebrating its 29th anniversary, the event will take place on Thursday, April 20th in a brand new venue, Southern Exchange at 200 Peachtree, featuring more restaurants, more chefs and more surprises including an intimate VIP Dinner Experience. 100% of proceeds support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger in America.  Leading the 2017 event along with our Event Chairmen, Pano Karatassos and George McKerrow, is Honorary Chef Cat Cora, TV personality and restaurateur, and Honorary Chair Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Entertainer, Restaurateur and Partner of Chicken + Beer.


Guests can take part in two different experiences: an ultra-exclusive VIP experience featuring a multi-course dinner with wine pairings (prepared table side) by one of Atlanta's most influential chefs or the Grand Tasting experience, sampling signature fare and spirits from over 50 of the city’s premier restaurants while enjoying auctions, wine tastings and live entertainment.

Together, we will end childhood hunger in America.

Interested in learning more about the 2017 event? Please reach out to Allison Palestrini at 


If you're looking to make a night out of it, Atlanta's Taste of the Nation has secured discounted room rates at hotels in close proximity to the event venue:

To reserve a discounted room rate at the Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta downtown location, please contact their call center at 1-800-241-3333 and state that you would like to book accommodation at The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta (Downtown) for the Taste of the Nation group, provide the agent with your requested dates of stay and the agent will identify your group rate of $229.00 USD per night. Guests can reserve online at enter your desired dates of stay, enter the seven letter Group/Promotion code TONTONA and click check availability to complete the reservation process.  

To reserve a discounted rate at the Courtyard Marriott Atlanta Downtown location, at a rate of $139.00 USD per night, please reserve online at the following link: Taste of the Nation Room Block





Atlanta's Taste of the Nation would not be possible without the continued leadership and support of our chairmen. Thank you, Pano and George!


Pano Karatassos Taste of the Nation Atlanta Share Our  Strength No Kid Hungry

Atlanta owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Buckhead Life Restaurant Group and its charismatic founder and CEO Pano Karatassos. The company raised Atlanta to a new level of dining, and earned it a spot on the country’s culinary map when it opened its flagship restaurant Pano’s and Paul’s in 1979. Today, Buckhead Life Restaurant Group owns nine of Atlanta’s top restaurants, has expanded into Boca Raton, Florida, and most recently Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, with the opening of Lobster Bar Sea Grille. Pano spends a great deal of time working with local charities, particularly hunger-related causes. As the Atlanta chairperson for Share Our Strength, he has helped to raise more than $10 million. He also developed the country’s first freshly “prepared food program” for the hungry and was a founding member of Atlanta’s Table. As a result of his lifelong commitment to hunger relief and his contributions to the community, Pano was presented with the Cornerstone Humanitarian Award by the National Restaurant Association. A humble man, Pano has been known to say “My works is my hobby. I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”

George McKerrow Taste of the Nation Atlanta Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry

George McKerrow Jr. is a 40-year veteran of the restaurant business with a history of success in both fine dining and casual concepts. He opened the first LongHorn Steakhouse as a neighborhood restaurant in 1981, a time when Atlanta had few choices in casual dining. He successfully evolved that single location into RARE Hospitality, which owns LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille and was sold to Darden Restaurants in 2007. McKerrow retired from RARE in 2000. He co-founded We’re Cookin’ Inc. (owners of restaurants Aria & Canoe) in 1996 with Atlanta chef Gerry Klaskala and Ron San Martin. In addition to serving on the board of directors for the National Restaurant Association (1997-2003) and the Culinary Institute of America (1996-2002), McKerrow received the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Georgia Restaurant Association in 2007. In 2008, he was inducted into The Atlanta Hospitality Hall of Fame by the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. Along with his partner, media entrepreneur, philanthropist and environmentalist Ted Turner, McKerrow founded Ted’s Montana Grill in January 2002 and serves as the company’s CEO. 



2017 VIP Dinner Experience Chefs


Chef Pano Karatassos
with Honorary Chef Cat Cora
Chef Piero Premoli
Chef Matthew Basford
Chef Gerry Klaskala
Il Giallo
Chef Jamie Adams
Cape Dutch
Chef Philippe Haddad
Chef Kevin Rathbun
Chef Fuyuhiko Ito
Ford Fry Restaurants
Chef Ford Fry
Chef Kevin Gillespie



Chef Cat Cora

TV Personality and Restaurateur


It’s no surprise that Cat Cora has become a world renowned chef. Her culinary aspirations began at an early age, and by 15, she had developed a business plan for her own restaurant. In 2005, she made television history on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” as the first and only female Iron Chef, and in November 2006 Bon Appetit Magazine bestowed her with their Teacher of the Year Award, an award she calls, “the greatest recognition she could achieve as a chef.” That month, she was also honored with another great culinary distinction when she was named Executive Chef of the magazine. Since then, Cora has continued to evolve her craft, becoming an accomplished author, restaurateur, contributing editor, philanthropist and television host.

Following advice from her mentor Julia Child, Cat left her native Mississippi for New York, where she received the education of her dreams at The Culinary Institute of America. While in New York, she apprenticed with and then worked for Chef Anne Rozenweig at Arcadia and worked at the Beekman Tavern under Chef Larry Forgione of An American Place.

Cat’s culinary education continued in Europe completing apprenticeships with two of France’s three-star Michelin chefs, George Blanc of Vonnas and Roger Verge. After returning to New York again, Cat honed her skills as a Sous Chef at The Old Chatham Shepherding Company under Chef Melissa Kelly. She soon headed West to plant her roots in Northern California, where she served as Chef de Cuisine at Napa Valley’s Bistro Don Giovanni.

Cat made her TV debut in 1999, as co-host of Food Network’s Melting Pot with Rocco Di Spirito. She went on to host My Country My Kitchen: Greece, Date Plate, and was one of the featured hosts on Fine Living’s Simplify Your Life. A documentary, Cat’s In The Kitchen, was also made about her first James Beard dinner in April, 2002.

Preceding Iron Chef America, Cat co-hosted Kitchen Accomplished on Food Network, where she worked with a design expert and contractor to surprise a homeowner with a 3-day kitchen makeover. In 2006, Cat appeared in NBC’s Primetime Miniseries, Celebrity Cooking Showdown, where celebrities were paired with famous chefs and competed in a timed cook-off à la Iron Chef America.

In May 2012, Cora stepped out of her chef’s jacket into a new role as co-host alongside Curtis Stone for Bravo’s hit series, Around the World in 80 Plates. Cora has hosted, guest judged and appeared as herself in a number of hit food shows, including America’s Best Cook, NBC’s Celebrity Cooking Showdown, and Food Fighters. She also makes regular appearances on a wide variety of talk shows.

Since this wasn’t enough, Cat went on to create some of the world’s special restaurants, including Ocean by Cat Cora, Singapore, and Kouzzina at Disneyworld.  She is also setting a new standard for restaurants at airports.  If you have not yet, you must visit Cat Cora’s Kitchen, which is owned and operated by Hojeij Branded Food's, at Atlanta Hartsfield, Concourse A, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Salt Lake City International Airport, and my personal favorite, Terminal 2 at San Francisco International.

And now you can tap your own inner Iron Chef, and simplify your life, with Cat Cora’s Kitchen app for iPad.

Cat Cora is not only Iron Chef, she is also Iron Mom – to four boys!  She once observed that “if men were the ones to give birth, maternity leave would be a lot longer!”  What I think she wanted to say was that “if men were the ones to give birth, everyone would be an only child!”


Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges

Entertainer, Restaurateur and Partner of Chicken + Beer

The career of the multitalented CHRIS “LUDACRIS” BRIDGES, can best be described as remarkable. As a recording artist, he has sold more than 15 million albums domestically, thanks to the blockbuster success of such singles as “Stand Up,” “Get Back,” “Southern Hospitality,” “Number One Spot,” “Money Maker” and “My Chick Bad.” All of these records were accompanied by ingenious videos that demonstrated Bridges’ far-reaching imagination, and his willingness to stretch the boundaries of what rap videos should look and feel like.

With an unrivaled match of lyrical acumen, wit, and imagery, Bridges has solidified himself as one of music’s premier entertainers. Although he’s best known for his infectious tunes, Ludacris has shown that he’s equally adept at writing powerful songs with serious subject matter, including runaways, with the song “Runaway Love.” Bridges’ versatility and artistic complexity also enabled him to make a seamless transition to acting.

Most recently, he starred in Furious 7, the seventh installment in the global box-office hit franchise. His other feature film credits include  Fast & Furious 6Fast Five;  2 Fast 2 Furious; Garry Marshall’s ensemble comedy New Years Eve; and Ivan Reitman’s romantic comedy, No Strings Attached, opposite Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. His acclaimed performances in film, (CrashHustle & Flow), and television, (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), have Hollywood and critics alike buzzing about his increasingly impressive screen resume. Chris “Ludacris” Bridges will star in  Fast 8, The Fate of the Furious in April 2017.  He is also working on a new album to be released soon.

A consummate businessman, Ludacris is enjoying success outside of entertainment. His latest venture includes his partnership with Jackmont Hospitality for the restaurant Chicken + Beer that recently opened at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport. His philanthropic efforts rival his entertainment accomplishments. He also partnered with Crash writer/director Paul Haggis and Artists for Peace and Justice to help raise more than $4 million for Haitian relief efforts. In addition to that, he has raised more than $100,000 for disaster victims through The Ludacris Foundation. Having partnered with Jane Fonda, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Nelson Mandela, to name a few, The Ludacris Foundation continues to inspire youth through education. 


National Presenting Sponsors
National Sponsors
Food Network
The Glenlivet 



Active Production & Design

Empire Distributors, Inc.

Georgia Crown Dist. Company

National Distributing Company

Prime Wine & Spirits

Pulte Homes

Quality Wine & Spirits

United Distributors



Coca-Cola Foodservice

Lincoln Motors

Southern Exchange at 200 Peachtree



Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation

Atlanta United FC

Atlanta Wholesale Wine

The Billi Marcus Foundation




Buckhead Life Restaurant Group

Premier Agency

Treebird Branding





Kendra Scott

The Cook's Warehouse




17th South

Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles

Encore Atlanta


Modern Luxury Media

Restaurant Informer

Simply Buckhead

Southern Seasons Magazine

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution



Atlanta Community Food Bank The Atlanta Community Food Bank works closely with the food and hospitality industries to collect and distribute more than 50 million pounds of food annually. Groceries and meals are provided for children, families and individuals suffering from hunger and food insecurity through a network of more than 600 local nonprofits that receive food from the Food Bank. Reaching beyond its core focus of food distribution, the Food Bank helps families increase their economic security, grow food with neighbors and ensure their children’s success in school through projects such as the Prosperity Campaign, Community Gardens and Kids In Need. Nearly 40% of households served through the Food Bank network include children.
Share Our Strength's Cooking Matters empowers low-income families with the skills to stretch their food budgets so their children get healthy meals at home, as part of the No Kid Hungry® campaign to end childhood hunger in America. Cooking Matters serves families across the country through hands-on, six-week cooking courses; interactive grocery store tours; and mobile, online and educational tools. Participants learn to shop smarter, use nutrition information to make healthier choices, and cook delicious, affordable meals. Cooking Matters is nationally sponsored by the Walmart Foundation. To learn more, visit Cooking Cooking Matters is implemented in the Atlanta Area by Open Hand. 
Our House is non-profit resource for familiies experiencing homelessness, offering prorgrams designed to meet the unique needs of each family member: Early Childhood Education, Emergency Shelter, Employment Readiness Training, and Family Advocacy. In addition to a gold-standard education, Our House childcare centers provide hundreds of nutritious meals every day for children who might otherwise go hungry. Their shelter program meets the basic needs of families, including healthy daily meals and infant formula for newborns, so that families have space to focus on achieving stable housing. Our House has served thousands of families over 28 years of operations, and continues to address the challenges of homelessness, poverty and hunger; striving to empower families with the skills to create and maintain the path to self-sufficiency.
The Georgia Citizens' Coalition on Hunger is a nonprofit organization located in southeast Atlanta. Our mission is “to end hunger, homelessness and poverty in the state of Georgia” though a holistic and comprehensive approach in addressing the conditions of hunger and poverty. The Hunger Coalition has played a critical role in increasing participation of eligible households in the Food Stamp Program. We also launched a statewide campaign effort to expand the WIC program, School Breakfast and the Summer Feeding Programs across the state. They coordinate several community projects that serve low income families.
The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute produces research and state budget analysis to show Georgia ways to provide better education, health care and opportunity for everyone.
Captain Planet Foundation was founded by Ted Turner in 1991 and now chaired by his daughter Laura Turner Seydel. The Foundation supports high-quality, hands-on environmental stewardship projects that have enabled more than 1.1M youth across the U.S. and around the world make significant environmental improvements to their schools or communities.

2016 LIVE AUCTION ITEMS "Sneak Peek"


Cat Cora's California Trip
And experience with the chef herself

Cast Off Abroad Private Yacht "Freedom"
Or 4 Days, 5 Nights with up to 8 Guests

Anne Barge Custom Shopping Experience
With the acclaimed designer herself, including four gowns

Big Green Egg Private Cooking Class
And in-home dinner, with your own large Big Green Egg

Cayman Islands
Four night escape for two

Chef and Restaurateur Ford Fry's Finest
In-home dinner featuring top talent from Ford's team, including Chef Fry himself

Private Dinner for 10
At your choice of Buckhead Life location: Pricci, Kyma, Chops or "Back Stage" with exclusive access to the member's only club at Chops

Our Highly Anticipated Dinners
With Atlanta's biggest culinary stars in your home!


For more information on live auction packages, please contact Allison Palestrini (678)-516-8317



National Presenting Sponsors

National Sponsors

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