Culinary Events > Taste of the Nation

Atlanta Taste of the Nation

April 20, 2017

VIP Dinner Experience: 6:00pm - 10:00pm

Grand Tasting : 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.


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 





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
Restaurant Eugene
Chef Linton Hopkins
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 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!”


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
Coca-Cola Foodservice
Southern Exchange at 200 Peachtree
Atlanta Wholesale Wine
The Billi Marcus Foundation
Blockbuster Linen Service
Buckhead Life Restaurant Group
Premier Agency
Treebird Branding
Kendra Scott
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.



“All In” Penthouse
A two-night V.I.P stay for two in Wind Creek Casino & Hotel’s penthouse suite.
Find your winning moment as you and a lucky guest experience an ultra-exclusive, unavailable for purchase experience at the Wind Creek Casino & Hotel in Wetumpka, Alabama. Enjoy a two-night stay in the luxurious Penthouse suite complete with two fireplaces, game room, private fitness studio, two master suites, and kitchen. The weekend includes V.I.P. access to the SkyBar Lounge, $200 per guest in free play, as well as dinner for two at FIRE steakhouse.
Compliments of Wind Creek Casino & Hotel.
*Stay based on availability. Expires 4/28/17.

First-Rate Fort Lauderdale
Four days and three nights experiencing Fort Lauderdale as a V.I.P.
For a getaway that’s equal parts luxury beach destination and sophisticated cityscape, look no further. You and a lucky guest will be whisked away in style with round trip, first class airfare on Delta Air Lines. Then, you’ll settle into your home base for three nights and four days, the modern, luxurious W Hotel, right on breathtaking Fort Lauderdale Beach. While you’re in town, you’ll be treated to a whirlwind of spectacular dining experiences at Lobster Bar Sea Grille on world-famous Los Olas Blvd., boutique steakhouse fare at Steak 954 at the W Hotel and coastal cuisine right on the beach at S3 Restaurant. Explore the beach and the city by day, enjoy memorable culinary experiences by night. It’s all waiting for you!
Compliments of Breakthru Beverage Florida.
*Air and hotel accommodations subject to availability. Valid May 1, 2016 – April 30, 2017.

Big Green Egg
Large Big Green Egg, private cooking class with Chef 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 4/28/17

Charleston Excursion
Weekend culinary tour of Charleston with Indigo Road Restaurants and an in-home dinner for twelve with Indigo Road’s Atlanta chefs.
Your weekend begins as you travel to Travel & Leisure’s 2015 Best City in North America, Charleston, on your own private plane, courtesy of ImagineAir. This exclusive, can’t buy experience for two with The Indigo Road restaurants in Charleston kicks off with a round of cocktails at The Cocktail Club, followed by a one-of-a-kind progressive dinner. You’ll make your way down Historic King Street for a course with Chef Jeremiah Bacon at The Macintosh, Chef Kevin Getzewich at Indaco and Chef Kazu Murakami at O-Ku. Bring back the ultimate souvenir: A dinner for 12 with wine in the privacy of your own home with the Atlanta Indigo Road chefs – Mike Perez (Colletta), Eric Zizka (Oak Steakhouse) and Jackie Chang (O-Ku).
Compliments of The Indigo Road chefs and restaurants, and Imagineair.
*CHARLESTON: Based on availability, some blackout dates may apply. Does not include ground transportation or gratuity.  ATLANTA: Based on chef availability, Sunday-Thursday, some blackout dates may apply - minimum 60 days advance notice, no exceptions. Gratuity not included. Entire Package Expires 4/28/17.

Master Somm Competition
An in-home, five-course dinner for 12 where two Certified Master Sommeliers compete to pair the perfect wine with each course.
Host the culinary event of the season in the privacy of your own home as two certified Master Sommeliers go head to head to compete for the perfect wine pairing. Two former French Laundry chefs, Christopher Grossman of Atlas and Pano Karatassos of Kyma, will prepare a delicious five-course dinner. After the dinner for 12, your guests will vote on which “Somm” had the best wine pairing! Master Sommeliers Michael McNeil and Trevor Wright will compete.
Compliments of Chefs Christopher Grossman and Pano Karatassos, Master Sommeliers Michael McNeil and Trevor Wright, and Quality Wine and Spirits.
*Based on chef and sommelier availability, Sunday-Thursday - minimum 60 days advance notice, no exceptions. Gratuity not included. Expires 4/28/17.

Take a Bite Out of the Big Apple, Star-Style
Bid your heart out and pack your bags! The lucky winner – and an equally lucky guest - of this exciting lot embark on a whirlwind culinary tour of glittering New York City. You’ll receive round trip airfare tickets on Delta and, once you land in the City, you’ll be whisked to the elegant and chic St. Regis New York. The historic luxury hotel will become your home-away-from-home for two nights. Centrally located, it’s just a six-minute walk from Central Park and a block from the Museum of Modern Art. Once you’re settled, the culinary tour will begin! Experience a seven-course chefs dinner with wine at Le Bernardin by Eric Ripert where you and your guest will also receive an exclusive kitchen tour of this 3 Michelin-starred restaurant. While you’re in town, you’ll dine in one of Chef Marc Murphy’s stellar restaurants, with your choice of Landmarc for contemporary French and Italian bistro fare or Ditch Planes for succulent seafood. Bon Appetit, and Bon Voyage!
Compliments of Chefs Marc Murphy and Eric Ripert, Le Bernardin.
Based on availability, some blackout dates may apply. Does not include ground transportation or gratuity. Le Bernardin dinner includes gratuity and tax. Flight credit includes $600 in Delta vouchers. Expires 4/28/17.

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 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) and Fuyuhiko Ito (Umi). Each exquisite course will be paired with wines provided by National Distributing Company.
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 4/28/17.

SweetWater Takeover
Private party for 50 at SweetWater Brewery with small bites of New Orleans throughout the evening with Chefs Scott Serpas and Robert Holley.
Round up 49 of your closest friends for an unforgettable takeover of one of Atlanta’s favorite breweries! This VIP evening at SweetWater will feature brewery tours, tastings of all SweetWater’s delicious beers, and specialty glassware for all your guests. You’ll even get to choose flavors for a custom cask to serve at the party! Speaking of flavors, New Orleans native Chef Scott Serpas (Serpas True Food) and Chef Robert Holley (Atlanta Fish Market), will be on hand to prepare some of their specialties.
Compliments of SweetWater Brewing Company and Chefs Scott Serpas and Robert Holley.
*Based on availability, Sunday-Wednesday. SweetWater Brewery will provide the space, beer and glassware. Gratuity not included. Expires 4/28/17.

Escape to Greece
Seven days and six nights of exploring four of Greece’s most exciting cities.
Travel like Greek royalty as you and a guest fly business class into Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki, spending the night in the luxurious Excelsior Hotel. From there you’ll travel to Halkidiki, for two nights at Sani Resort overlooking Mount Olympus. As you take in Mediterranean beaches, you’ll enjoy unique dining experiences and tailor-made excursions, such as a trip to Mount Athos vineyard. Next you’ll travel to Rapsani in the foothills of Mount Olympus for a night where you’ll take in the views with a scenic drive in a convertible sports car en route to your Rapsani Wine Adventure. Your final excursion takes you to the island of Santorini for a two-night stay featuring private wine tastings and vineyard tours of Santo Wines, exclusive dining experiences at award-winning restaurants, a yacht cruise, and visits to archaeological sites and museums.
Compliments of Tsantali Vineyards & Wineries.
*Reservations based on availability, some blackout dates may apply. Trip must take place before July 31, 2016 OR in 2017.

In-Home Dinner by “Young Guns” – Atlanta’s Most Exciting New Chefs
In-home dining experience for 12 from Atlanta’s rising stars.
Say you “knew them when” with this dinner! Get your paddle ready and this group of six chefs – including Christopher Grossman (Atlas), Joey Ward (Gunshow), Zeb Stevenson (Watershed), Todd Richards (White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails), Matt Basford (Canoe) and Matthew Ridgway (Gypsy Kitchen) will pull out all the stops for a thrilling six-course dinner, right in your own home. Your party of 12 guests will never forget this outstanding meal, which will be custom-designed for your taste, paired with wine and cocktails, courtesy of National Distributing Company. Trust us: this will be a meal you’ll be talking about for years to come!
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 4/28/17.

La Dolce Vita
Five days and four nights exploring two of Italy’s most beautiful winemaking regions.
Raise your paddle to experience “the sweet life” in Tuscany! Two lucky couples will experience an insider’s look into the Antinori Family winery. You’ll be immersed in this proud winemaking family’s history, spanning more than 26 generations. You’ll explore the diverse regions of Italy; from the art-filled streets of Florence to the rolling hills of Umbria. Your adventure begins with round trip airfare, whisking you to Florence for dinner at the prestigious La Cantinetta Antinori restaurant in the Antinori Mansion. V.I.P. accommodations at the Executive Hotel Florence will be the perfect home-base for two nights as you explore Florence’s legendary beauty and architecture. Your journey continues with trips to exclusive destinations such as Bargino, the village of Fonte de Medici located in the Chianti Classico region, and the Antinori’s 14th century Umbrian castle. This trip has everything; exclusive tours of cellars and museums, V.I.P. accommodations, and the chance to experience Italy like one of the top Italian winemakers.
Courtesy of Ste Michelle Wine Estates / Antinori Family Estates.
*Must book at least 2 months in advance; reservations based on availability. Some blackout dates may apply. Air travel and ground transportation is only what is outlined in package. Flight credit includes four (4) $1,000 Delta vouchers. Expires 4/28/17.

“Legendary” In-Home Dinner
In-home dining experience for 12 from Atlanta’s most famous chefs.
Get ready to bid on this 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 Linton Hopkins (Restaurant Eugene, Holeman & Finch), Kevin Rathbun (Kevin Rathbun Steak, Rathbun’s, KR SteakBar), Gary Donlick (Bistro Niko), Jamie Adams (il Giallo), Doug Turbush (Seed Kitchen & Bar, Stem Wine Bar, Drift Fish House & Oyster Bar) 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 4/28/17.


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