Culinary Events > Taste of the Nation

South Florida Taste of the Nation

May 12, 2017

VIP Plus: $200
6:00pm - 10:00pm

VIP & Afterparty Admission: $175
7:00pm - 10:00pm

General Admission: $125
7:00pm - 10:00pm

Afterparty Admission: $75
10:00pm - 12:00am

Soho Studios

2136 NW 1st Ave
Miami, Florida

South Florida's Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry

Join Us to End Childhood Hunger in America

Friday, May 12, 2017
Soho Studios

VIP Plus: $200 | 6:00pm-10:00pm | Includes Afterparty & Hour Early Access
VIP Admission: $175 | 7:00pm-10:00 | Includes Afterparty Admission

General Admission: $125 | 7:00pm-10:00pm
Afterparty Admission: $75 | 10:00pm-12:00am

Please note: This is a 21+ Event.
South Florida's Taste of the Nation® for No Kid Hungry is the nation’s premier culinary benefit, featuring top chefs, wineries and mixologists — all of whom are coming together to donate their time, talent and passion to end childhood hunger in America. An elegant evening of gourmet food and wine, Taste of the Nation features chefs and gourmet cuisine from over 50 of South Florida’s best restaurants all committed to Share Our Strength’s vision to end childhood hunger. 
Since 1988, Taste of the Nation has been delighting diners by bringing together the greatest culinary experts to donate their time and skill for a good cause. Produced by Share Our Strength, a national nonprofit fighting childhood hunger, the goal of each Taste of the Nation event is to raise much-needed funds to help end childhood hunger. Aside from feasting on a number of dishes from a bevy of chefs, you’ll also be able to take part in a silent auction, relax in a Citi curated lounge area and taste special wines, spirits and beers. Doing good has never tasted better. 100 percent of proceeds from this Taste of the Nation event benefit Share Our Strength's mission to fight and end childhood hunger.
Contact Andy Villabona at with any questions. 
Social media savvy? We'd love for you to share the event on your social networks! Please see below for the Hashtags and Handles we use for South Florida's Taste of the Nation.


Hashtags: #NoKidHungry #TOTNSFla

Twitter and Instagram: @TOTNSFla



Chef Chair 

Timon Balloo
Sugarcane raw bar grill, Executive Chef and Partner 

Chef Timon Balloo was born to Chinese and Trinidadian parents. His scrapbook of memories leads with days on the farm, ethnic recipes, and a favorite pastime of watching the PBS show Yan Can Cook. Little did he know then that he would soon be on the fast track to a James Beard Foundation “Best New Restaurant” nomination. This and a host of other accolades continue to reflect his dedication to the seasonal, local ingredients that fuel his daily inspirations taken from the market’s freshest offerings.

In 1998, Balloo began his official journey toward a stellar culinary career. Through the international program of extended studies at Johnson & Wales, Balloo traveled to Belgium to work at Hotel M├ętropole under the French Master, Chef Dominique Michou. Balloo honed his classical culinary training skills by working his way up from entremetier comis (hot line) to patisserie comis. Of that time, Balloo recalls: “The vegetables and animals would often come straight from the farm. It wasn’t unusual for us to have to skin and pluck the next dish… now that was farm-to-table cooking!”

Balloo considers his first real professional lesson – on humility in the kitchen – to have been taught by “Professor” Allen Susser, one of Miami’s most influential chefs. “In Chef Susser’s kitchen, you were broken down and then built back up,” Balloo explains. “My time cooking at Chef Susser’s gave me a new respect for food.”

Balloo went on to become Junior Sous Chef at the five-star AZUL in Miami’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel under the leadership of Michelle Bernstein, Balloo’s greatest mentor. “Michelle taught me to cook from my heart and, as such, I started to craft my own approach to food, infusing it with what I like to call ‘Asian-Caribbean soul.’”

From La Broche in Miami to SUSHISAMBA in New York City, Balloo eventually earned Executive Chef status. Among his favorite dishes at SUGARCANE raw bar grill’s sister restaurant, SUSHISAMBA, was the Moqueca Mista: “It touches a depth of flavors, it is simply prepared – void of ‘fancy’ techniques – and it has personality when it enters the dining room. Food is about life and excitement, but it’s also very much about integrity.”

Through the use of simple ingredients to create great food, Balloo started to form his signature style: the juxtaposition of bold flavors made for sharing, prepared on small plates. He partnered with Amir Ben-Zion to launch Domo Japones in Miami’s Design District; the Japanese concept highlighted one-of-a-kind ingredients in a former post-office-turned-restaurant. Balloo’s menu was awarded three stars by The Miami Herald and voted “Best Japanese 2008” by Miami New Times.

An opportunity to reconnect with Samba Brands Management in 2009 brought Balloo back to the growing restaurant group as Executive Chef and Partner of SUGARCANE raw bar grill, which opened in 2010. Shortly after the restaurant’s debut, SUGARCANE raw bar grill took “Best New Restaurant” and Balloo was dubbed “Best Up-and-Coming Chef” by Miami New Times. He was also named “Chef of the Year” by Eater, and the accolades have never stopped.

“SUGARCANE raw bar grill has played a major role in Miami’s food scene since opening. We’re committed to pushing the culinary envelope every day,” he says. “However, our warm, casual vibe will never change – that’s a mainstay of the brand in which we all take a lot of pride.”


2017 Sponsors



Local Media Sponsors


2016 Event Hosts

Marybel Rodriguez

 Marybel Rodriguez is an Emmy-nominated weekend anchor for the CBS4 morning news as well as a reporter for the weekday newscasts on  CBS4.

 She began her career as a “spokesmodel” on the popular Univision television show “Sabado Gigante,” the longest-running entertainment show  in history seen in every Spanish-speaking country in the world. After six years with the show, Marybel was lured away to become a feature and  entertainment reporter for WPLG. Her desire to cover hard news stories persuaded her to make the switch to CBS4 a few months later.

 Marybel is pleased to volunteer her time with the Hispanic community. She was the Hispanic Spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving  (MADD) on the west coast.  In 2008, Florida International University named her Outstanding Alumni of the Year.  In addition, Marybel has  received numerous other awards that attest to her professionalism and dedication to news.  These honors reflect the way Marybel’s warm and  engaging personality connects with South Florida viewers.

 Born and raised in Miami to Cuban parents, Marybel has not forgotten her roots or the importance of her culture. A graduate of Florida  International University, she holds a Bachelors Degree in Broadcast Journalism. Nevertheless, Marybel’s greatest accomplishment is being a mother and wife. She loves spending time with her husband and their three sons.


 Hey…it's Froggy!!  I’ve been a part of Elvis Duran and the Morning Show since 2006! Shocked they've let me stick around this long? Me too!!

 I’ve been hanging around various radio stations since 1994.  I started at 933FLZ in Tampa Bay and moved to Y100 Miami in 2002.   I’m  married to a beautiful woman named Lisa…I’m one of those guys that “married WAY up.”  I have a daughter Danielle and a son Caden. I love  being a husband and a father!

 I’m normally the "guy in the studio in Miami"…but I also travel around the country introducing the Elvis Duran Show to the masses!! You can  always count on me to have something inappropriate to say…to just about anything and everything. 

 During my free time I enjoy NFL and college football (Tampa Bay Bucs and Florida Gators fan) NASCAR (born in North Carolina…you have to  like NASCAR) and golf (Tiger Woods). You can ALWAYS find me at any of the fine chain restaurants in your town!! I love living in South  Florida…but nothing is better than being able to work in many of greatest cities in the US!

Another fun (or not so fun) fact about me is that I live with a rare, chronic disease called acromegaly, caused by a non-cancerous tumor on my pituitary gland. After years of experiencing unexplained symptoms like being tired all of the time; my hands, feet, forehead and jaw growing; excessive sweating and excruciating headaches, I was diagnosed in 2010. After going through all that I have, I work hard to keep my acromegaly under control! It’s definitely not always easy - it takes a lot of work staying on top of my medication schedule, getting my hormone levels checked, going for regular doctors’ visits and keeping a positive attitude - but the support of my family, friends and all you listeners out there have made the journey easier.  If you want to hear more about my journey with acromegaly, check out my video on




Continue your night with more sips & snacks at R House in Wynwood. Our exclusive afterparty will feature crafted cocktails, a selection of local beers and a DJ.


Big Easy Winebar & Grill

Elia Goumet

Sorso by Scott Constant

More to be announced soon!



Who We Help

Florida Impact  Since 1979, Florida Impact has been dedicated to reducing hunger and poverty in Florida. Our mission is to inspire and enlist the people of Florida to secure justice for and with those whose economic rights have not been realized. We also work to increase access to food programs by conducting aggressive outreach strategies and public policy advocacy. 

Feeding South FloridaFeeding South Florida  Feeding South Florida is the sole Feeding America food bank serving Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe Counties. Through direct-service programs and a network of nonprofit partner agencies, including soup kitchens, food pantries, homeless shelters, and group homes, Feeding South Florida rescues and distributes more than 40 million pounds of food per year, as well as leads hunger and poverty advocacy efforts and provides innovative programming and education.



FLIPANY  Florida introduces Physical Activity and Nutrition to Youth (FLIPANY)'s mission to empower youth and their families through physical activity and nutrition education programs while raising awareness and creating policies for a healthier community.



Honorary Founding Chair

Chef Allen Susser


Allen Susser is a winner of the prestigious James Beard Award. His personal culinary viewpoint has been established since 1986 upon opening Chef Allen’s as chef/owner of his groundbreaking Miami restaurant. The New York Times called Allen the “Ponce De Leon of New Florida cooking”. Chef Allen’s cuisine is fresh and flavorful, like a tropical vacation on a plate. Food & Wine magazine named Chef Allen "One of the Best 10 Chefs in America".
In 2000 Allen launched Chef Allen's Consulting a boutique restaurant and hospitality consulting firm - providing strategic initiative, culinary resources, and innovative direction for the industry.  Allen has consulted for American Airlines, Kitchen Aid, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, McCormick Spice, Kraft and Sunkist. In 2008 was named consulting chef for Jade Mountain Resort and this year added Anse Chastanet Resort also on St Lucia in the West Indies.  In 2011 he debuted a new casual direction of comfort food launching Burger Bar by Chef Allen at Fort Lauderdale  - Hollywood International Airport and is  currently developing a privately held QRS national brand concept. Current clients include Daily Melt, Slainte Irish Pub + Kitchen and Books & Books Cafe.
Susser is currently the spokesman for the National Mango Board and is a Culinary Ambassador for the Monterey Bay Aquarium for its sustainable seafood watch. He received an honorary Doctorate of Culinary Arts from Johnson and Wales University. His Alma Marta- Florida International University award Allen the President's Award for community service. Allen was recognized as Chef of the Year for Share Our Strength and later was honored nationally as Humanitarian of the Year by Share Our Strength for his commitment to End Childhood Hunger. He is currently active on the Board of Feeding South Florida. Susser is an advisory member of the James Beard Foundation, The Florida Commissioner's Seafood and Aquaculture Committee, and has served on the National Board of Directors for the American Institute of Wine and Food. Susser served as president of the Miami chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. He is the original author of New World Cuisine and Cookery (Doubleday, 1995), The Great Citrus Book (Ten Speed Press, 1997) and The Great Mango Book, (Ten Speed Press, 2001).





National Presenting Sponsors

National Sponsors

Event Sponsored By

Join Us on Facebook Share our Strength

© 2017 Share Our Strength

1030 15th Street, NW, Suite 1100 W
Washington DC 20005

Additional Information

Educational Content