Culinary Events > Taste of the Nation

Atlanta Taste of the Nation

May 03, 2018

General Admission: $250
7:00pm - 10:00pm

Cobb Galleria

2 Galleria Pkwy SE
Atlanta, Georgia


Atlanta's Taste of the Nation

for No Kid Hungry

Celebrating 30 Years!


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Cobb Galleria
2 Galleria Pkwy SE
Atlanta, GA 30339

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 30th anniversary, the event will take place on Thursday, May 3 in a brand new venue, Cobb Galleria, featuring more restaurants, more chefs and an evening you will not soon forget. 100% of proceeds support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger in America.  Leading the 2018 event are our Event Chairmen, Pano Karatassos and George McKerrow.


Guests can experience a 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 2018 event? Please reach out to Allison Palestrini at 




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. 


2018 Honorary Chef Coming Soon!


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!”

2018 Honorary Chair Coming Soon!


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.

2018 LIVE AUCTION ITEMS Coming Soon!

2017 LIVE AUCTION ITEMS "Sneak Peek"


Sunshine State Luxury

Win this lot and pack your bags for sunny South Florida. You and a guest will fly from Atlanta to Miami in Delta’s first-rate first-class cabin. Upon landing, you’ll be whisked the world-famous Fontainebleau Miami Beach Hotel, your luxurious home-away-from-home for the next four days and three nights. While you’re in town, enjoy a whirlwind of fantastic dining experiences, including dinners for two at The Lobster Bar Sea Grille, Scarpetta and Prime 112, which will fuel your fun in the sun.

Compliments of Breakthru Beverage Florida.

*Subject to availability. Package is valid May 1, 2017 - April 30, 2018.


Big Green Egg Large Big Green Egg, private cooking class with David G. Rose, and a dinner party for twelve in the privacy of your own home.

Enjoy the ultimate cooking experience with Big Green Egg right in the comfort and privacy of your own home. “Break in the Egg” where executive Chef David G. Rose shows you how to use your new large Big Green Egg! You’ll also enjoy a backyard dinner party for 12 with wine prepared by Chef Rose.

Compliments of Big Green Egg, Chef David G. Rose and National Distributing Company.

*Based on chef availability, Sunday - Thursday - minimum 60 days advance notice, no exceptions. Gratuity not included. Expires 4/20/18. 


Paradise Found: Cayman Islands Getaway

We all need some sun and crystal blue water in our lives! With this incredible  lot, paradise is just a paddle raise away. You and a jet-setting guest will fly from Atlanta to Grand Cayman aboard Delta Air Lines. Upon arrival, you’ll travel to your deluxe room at Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, perfectly situated on world-famous Seven Mile Beach. Fill your five day, four night stay with watersports, wildlife watching, sipping handmade cocktails and dining overlooking the turquoise water. Or, choose to do nothing but soak up some rays on the sugar-white beach. Hey, that’s the beauty of paradise - it’s all up to you!  

Compliments of the Cayman Islands

*Based on availability. Valid May 1 - Dec 19, 2017. Meals are not included. Advance reservation required. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.


Buckhead Life Restaurant
Group VIP Private Dinner
You’ll get the true Buckhead Life VIP experience with your choice of dinner with wine for ten from the Executive Chefs of Pricci, Kyma, or Chops. That’s not all! Your delicious multi-course dinner will be served in the most exclusive setting in each restaurant. Enjoy private dining rooms at Kyma or Pricci, or the exclusive members-only private club at Chops. Whether you choose Pricci’s toprated contemporary Italian cuisine from Chef Piero Premoli or Kyma’s nationally acclaimed Greek Seafood from Chef Pano Karatassos, or award winning prime steaks from Chef Ryan Delesandro of Chops Lobster Bar, an amazing evening is guaranteed.
Compliments of Pano Karatassos and the Buckhead Life Restaurant Group
*Based on availability. Expires 4/20/18.

Custom Eveningwear Atelier Experience with Designer Anne Barge 

For the very first time, world renowned designer Anne Barge will be opening the doors of her new Atlanta atelier for a unique, custom shopping experience. This lucky winner will receive a private appointment with Anne herself to customize four timeless eveningwear styles, tailored to your exact measurements. The Anne Barge Black Label collection of classic, ultra-feminine gowns ranges between $2,000 - $7,000.

Update your wardrobe with four fabulous pieces or share this prize with three girlfriends for a once in a lifetime experience with an American design legend.

Anne Barge is an eveningwear and bridal design house based out of Atlanta, GA with retailers worldwide. A favorite among celebrity brides and red carpet icons alike, Anne has created custom designs for Laura Benanti, Johanna Braddy, Kristen Cavallari, Violett Beane, Taraji P. Henson, Amber Riley, Eva Longoria, Leah Pipes, Lauren Alaina, Yvonne Orji, Amirah Vann, and more. Her styles have been featured in Vogue, Cosmopolitan, InStyle, BRIDES, Town & Country, The New York Times, Martha Stewart Weddings, Harper’s Bazaar, The Knot, and many more.

Estimated value: $15,000 - $30,000, compliments of Shawne Jacobs, President of Anne Barge

RESTRICTIONS: One private appointment with Anne per auction package – all friends must attend together, or one winner on their own


“Ford Fry’s Finest” Dinner 

We all know Ford Fry and his hot dining concepts around Atlanta (Beetlecat, Marcel, Superica, The El Felix, St. Cecilia, King + Duke, The Optimist and Jct. Kitchen), and now is your opportunity to enjoy a feast prepared by Ford and the A Team behind them all. This dinner experience for ten will be crafted and executed by Ford along with Chefs Kevin Maxey and Drew Belline and Executive Pastry Chef Chrysta Poulos to bring you a one-of-a-kind evening in the comfort of your home, with wine and cocktails provided by National Distributing Company.

Compliments of Ford Fry Restaurants, participating chefs and National Distributing Company.

*Based on chef availability, Sunday-Thursday - minimum 60 days advance notice, no exceptions. Gratuity not included. Expires 4/20/18.


Ultimate Culinary Getaway - Michelin-Themed New York

Calling all extreme foodies! Get your paddles ready, because this Michelin Guide-themed trip is truly priceless. You and a (hopefully) hungry guest will fly first class aboard Delta Air Lines to New York for an unforgettable whirlwind tour of some of the Big Apple’s most stellar dining, with palatial accommodations for three nights at The St. Regis New York. You’ll start with a kitchen tour and trip to Union Square Green Market with Chef Günter Seeger to shop for his micro-seasonal ingredients. Then the celebrated chef will prepare a 10-course dinner with wine pairings at his eponymous restaurant. That’s just the beginning: you’ll also enjoy a seasonal tasting menu with wine pairings and a kitchen tour at the iconic Gramercy Tavern and a seasonal tasting menu with wine pairings at the impossibly elegant Eleven Madison Park. Also included is lunch at any one of Chef Marc Murphy’s Benchmarc restaurants, with a keepsake to take home: a signed copy of his Season with Authority Confident Home

Compliments of Chef Günter Seeger and the participating restaurants.

*Value of Gift Certificates to Günter Seeger, Gramercy Tavern, Benchmarc Restaurants and Eleven Madison park are set at a value comparable to current menu pricing with inclusion of tax and gratuity and do not expire. Value of Gift Certificates to The St. Regis New York are comparable to current rack rates with inclusion of lodging tax and gratuity. The St. Regis Gift certificate for $3,450 expires on 3/16/2018 and Gift Certificate for $1,725 expires on 3/27/2018. Any additional charges over the set gift certificate amounts must be covered by the auction winner.


Cat Cora’s California

If you’ve ever wanted to travel like a star chef, now’s your chance! The adventure begins in Atlanta with a “send off party” at Cat Cora Kitchen in Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. Then, you and a lucky guest will fly first-class to experience Cat Cora’s hometown, Santa Barbara. Once in you touchdown in Los Angeles, put the top down on your rental convertible and enjoy a scenic drive up the coast. From there, you’ll visit Byron Vineyard, Santa Barbara’s first commercial vineyard and operated by Jackson Family Fine Wines, for an exclusive wine tasting experience. You can anticipate the best for last: you’ll join Cat Cora herself to enjoy craft burgers at her recently opened restaurant: Mesa Burger, and of course you can expect a VIP experience all the way when you’re with the owner/chef. 


Exotic in-home dining with Atlanta’s Top International Chefs

In-home dinner with wine pairings prepared by four of Atlanta’s top chefs.

What can bring  Italy, Greece, South Africa, France and Japan together? Only the best food in the world! With the winning bid, you’ll enjoy an unforgettable dinner for 12 in your home expertly prepared by Executive Chefs Piero Premoli (Pricci), Pano Karatassos (Kyma), Philippe Haddad (Cape Dutch), Cyrille Holota (Le Bilboquet), Fuyuhiko and Lisa Ito (Umi). Each course will be paired with wines provided by National Distributing Company.

Compliments of the participating chefs, their restaurants and National Distributing Company.

*Based on chef and sommelier availability, Sunday - Thursday - minimum 60 days advance notice, no exceptions. Gratuity not included. Expires 4/20/18. 


Nautical Adventure Aboard Your Private Yacht

Chart your course for up to eight guests for four nights and five days aboard your private yacht, Freedom. Set sail from your choice of destination from Florida, the Florida Keys, Bahamas, Newport or Nantucket, depending on season, and relax as the four member crew takes care of everything. A 104 foot fantail motor yacht designed by John Trumpy and built in 1926 is the Sister ship to Sequoia, the last Presidential Yacht.  The yacht is modern, has been fully restored and cruises beautifully.  She has water toys and tenders for off yacht excursions etc. This package includes minimum daily gratuity, airfare credit, and a fuel/docking fee supplement. Your nautical adventure awaits.

Compliments of George McKerrow

Retail value for boat useage alone is $48,000

Food and beverage aboard will be the responsibility of the winner as this will be customized based on your party size or palate. 


 Legends of Atlanta Dining In-Home Dinner

In-home dining experience for 12 from Atlanta’s most famous chefs.

Get ready to bid on a stellar lot - for an unforgettable dinner with some of Atlanta’s biggest culinary stars. Your party of 12 guests will experience a dazzling six course meal customized to your preferences by Chefs Gary Donlick (Bistro Niko), Doug Turbush (Seed Kitchen & Bar, Stem Wine Bar, Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar), Jamie Adams (il Giallo), Chris Hall (Local Three, Muss and Turner’s, Eleanor’s), Kevin Gillespie (Gunshow, Revival, Communion and forthcoming Gamechanger) and Gerry Klaskala (Aria). This priceless dinner will be served in the comfort of your own home and with wine and cocktails, courtesy of National Distributing Company. Bidder, up!

Compliments of participating chefs, their restaurants and National Distributing Company.

*Based on chef and sommelier availability, Sunday - Thursday - minimum 60 days advance notice, no exceptions. Gratuity not included. Expires 4/20/18. 


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



2018 Grand Tasting Participating Restaurants Coming Soon!

2017 Grand Tasting Participating Restaurants

10 Degrees South | 103 West | 5Church | American Cut | Apres Diem | Aria | Atlanta Fish Market | Atlanta Grill at Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta | Atlas | Big Green Egg | Bistro Niko | Buckhead Diner | Canoe | Cape Dutch | Cat Cora's Kitchen | Cayman Islands | Chai Pani | Chicken + Beer | Chicken and the Egg | Chops Lobster Bar | City Winery | Colletta | Davio's | F&B Atlanta | Ford Fry Restaurants | Gunshow | Gypsy Kitchen | Holeman and Finch | il Giallo | Kaleidoscope Bistro & Pub | Kevin Rathbun Steak | Kyma | Le Bilboquet | Local Three | Marlow's Tavern | Nan Thai Fine Dining | Oak Steakhouse | O-Ku | Pricci | Rathburn's | Seed Kitchen & Bar | Southern Bistro | Superica | Ted's Montana Grill | The Sun Dial | Tuk Tuk Thai Food Loft | Twelve Eighty | Umi | White Oak Kitchen & Cocktail


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