This past Sunday we held our 18th annual Taste of Hope Gala -- our signature fundraising event -- at the Umstead Hotel & Spa. Each year, this truly fabulous fundraiser benefits the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle through a fantastic feast. Taste of Hope guests experience several gourmet courses, each created by a different celebrity chef and paired with a variety of fine wines, and we feature both a live and a silent auction.
The evening began with an open bar with champagne, fine wines, and hors d’oeuvres made by the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Culinary Job Training Program students as guests mingled and began to bid on items in the silent auction. Items available in the silent auction included tickets to area sporting events, original art from local artists, hand crafted jewelry & scarves, tickets for entertainment, golf outings, signed sports memorabilia, getaway vacations, wines, gift certificates from top local restaurants such as Second Empire, The Angus Barn, Solas, and many more!
Then the guests were then invited to take their seats in ballroom to begin the dining experience with Master of Ceremonies Greg Fishel, Chief Meteorologist, WRAL-TV. This six course feasting marathon is made possible by top chefs graciously donating their time and talent to create a food experience beyond any available at a single location in the Triangle. Each course is thoughtfully created to tantalize the palette of even the savviest “foodie,” and each course is exquisitely paired with its ideal wine match to maximize the total experience.
The tantalizing 2012 menu enjoyed was as follows:
- First Course: White Bean Soup with A.D. Jones Farms Fresh Bacon and Lavender Chantilly, 18 Seaboard
- Second Course: Smoked Bacon Wrapped Diver Scallop with Pepita Beurre Niosette, Aged Balsamic, & Chive, Midtown Grille
- Third Course: Duck Confit and Frisee salad with cider brown butter vinaigrette, Coquette
- Intermezzo: Yuzu Sorbet, Honey Roasted Passion Fruit, Vanilla-Lime-Coconut "Air", Umstead
- Main Course: Smoked Beef Tenderloin, Winter Squash, Black Truffle-Bacon Sauce, Umstead
- Dessert: Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse, Cocoa Biscuit, Candied Kumquats, Umstead
Throughout the evening, there were multiple opportunities for guests to expand giving beyond their attendance. The evening’s abundance is used to directly and ironically highlight the lack that so many of our neighbors in the Triangle community experience on a too regular basis.
Adding to the excitement of the evening was the live auction! Items available this year were: a one hour Hot Air Balloon Ride for two, a Harry Marr Pig-Pickin’ for 50, a Farm to Fork Dinner for 12, prepared on the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle farm by Chef Terri Hutter and students/graduates of the CJTP with a focus on seasonal, locally grown foods, an Urban Food Group Dine Around – a chauffeured limousine for 8 with a different course at Porter’s, Frazier’s, Vivace, and Coquette, and - the highlight of the evening - a 14-carat black diamond necklace designed exclusively for the event by Ora Designers/Fine Jewelers. Thanks to our auctioneer, Brian Hoyle, voice of the RBC center!
Every year Ora Jewelers generously donates exquisite jewelry for this event. The jewelry is modeled throughout the evening leading up to the raffle. This year featured a Nina Nguyen 18k yellow gold over sterling silver "Chateau" necklace and earrings with multicolored Druzy quartz stones.
Guests were also invited by the Taste of Hope Chair IFFS Co-Founder Maxine Solomon to become a sponsor for our BackPack Buddies program, which provides children from food-insecure homes with weekend meals during the school year. Each sponsored child receives a backpack containing six balanced meals and two healthy snacks at the end of every week. The children are served in partnership with school principals, guidance counselors, and various after school programs. This year, the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle distributed 40,264 backpacks filled with 241, 584 nutritious weekend meals to over 1,350 children at 45 sites. The need is great – over 111,000 children in our service area receive free or reduced-price lunch at school, and one in four children in the Triangle community are hungry. This year, we plan to reach even more of them.
IFFS Co-Founders Jill Staton Bullard and Maxine Solomon
Thanks to our 2012 Taste of Hope Sponsors! It is only by working together that we can end hunger!
Thanks to the fantastic chefs who donated their talents to the event: Scott James, Midtown Grille, Jason Smith, 18 Seaboard, Beth LittleJohn, Coquette, Scott Crawford, The Umstead Hotel, Daniel Benjamin, The Umstead Hotel, Will Hall, IFFS Culinary Job Training Program.
Thanks also to the Taste of Hope committee members who made the night a success: Maxine Solomon, Committee Chair & Inter-Faith Food Shuttle Co-Founder, GlaxoSmithKline, Michelle Masella Corcoran, Inspro, Melissa Hartzell, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Donna Hovis, US Food Service, Ann Marco, US Food Service, Kim Brame McGimsey, Breakthrough Health, LLC, Renee Saddler, RenSad Designs, and Julie Stewart, SAS.
Want to get in on the fun, the giving, the deliciousness? Look for our Blossoms of Hope luncheon this Spring!