Wynwood Kitchen + Bar / Photo by LibbyVision.com

One of the most important culinary events to raise awareness about childhood hunger is South Florida’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry.

Eighty top chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists donated their time, talent, and passion to the cause that was led by the founding event chairman, Allen Susser; and the restaurant co-chairman, Timon Balloo.


More than 1,100 charity-minded food-lovers were lured to Wynwood’s Soho Studios in Miami on June 17 for the 28th annual fundraiser, hosted by Y100’s Froggy and CBS4’s Emmy-nominated morning-news anchor, Marybel Rodriguez.

zucchini salad, caponata and eggplant

Macchialina restaurant, in South Beach, served zucchini salad, caponata, and eggplant. / Photos by Eleanor Hoh

The event raised $70,000, which translates to more than 700,000 meals for children, said Andy Villabona, Southeast regional manager of Share Our Strength.

Every year, many partners and sponsors join forces to encourage folks to donate beyond their ticket. Mystery Wine Grab was a way to test your luck, so when you donated $30 to No Kid Hungry, you selected one of over 100 mystery wine bottles and could leave with a bottle of wine valued at over $150.

There were also plenty of silent-auction items to choose from, and lucky Citibank card-holders were treated to cocktails made by their own VIP mixologist.

Executive Chef Adrienne Grenier of 3030 Ocean, at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, puts wahoo on plates with black garlic, pickled ramps, and mushrooms. / Photos by Eleanor Hoh

Executive Chef Adrienne Grenier of 3030 Ocean, at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, puts wahoo on plates with black garlic, pickled ramps, and mushrooms.

It’s hard to believe that 1 in 5 children in America struggles with hunger. Florida has 1.1 million kids falling into that category, according to feedingamerica.org.

Share Our Strength, a national hunger relief partnership in major cities, produces Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry. The South Florida beneficiaries included Florida Impact, FLIPANY (Florida Introduces Physical Activity and Nutrition to Youth), and Feeding South Florida. Those organizations educate families with skills to shop and cook on a budget in a healthy way.

Most importantly, funding ensures that kids start off the day with a nutritious breakfast. The No Kid Hungry campaign is especially important in the summer, when schools are closed and many kids go without. Several area sites provide free breakfasts or lunches to those in need, thanks to the campaign.

To date, No Kid Hungry and its partners have connected kids struggling with hunger with 460 million meals, according to nokidhungry.org.

To find out how you can help the No Kid Hungry campaign, or for a schedule of future events, visit NoKidHungry.org/SouthFlorida.