Share our Strength Fort Lauderdale a success

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Stephen Brockett, Kemoy Parris, Chef Nicole Rhone, Chef Sean McDonald of Illio's.

Stephen Brockett, Kemoy Parris, Chef Nicole Rhone, Chef Sean McDonald of Illio's.

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Fort Lauderdale/South Palm Beach County, one of the area’s top food and wine fundraisers, cooked up a sensational array of delectable food and a vibrant atmosphere to help fight hunger in South Florida. Guests toasted the Fort Lauderdale event’s 20th Anniversary, enjoying a sumptuous pre-event VIP cocktail “preview” party, the delectable specialties of dozens of the area’s top celebrity chefs, fine wine, spirits and silent and live auctions.

Chairwoman Kelly Murphy reports that the party, held June 2, raised $65,000 through sponsorships, ticket sales, donations, and the auctions. More than 800 participants filled a huge hall at the Broward Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, which was magically transformed with a gorgeous party atmosphere created by Panache Party Rentals. Star Chef Ralph Pagano was Auctioneer and Paul Castronovo & Young Ron of BIG 105.9 were Masters of Ceremony for the live auction.

Patrons were also treated to an exciting cook-off sponsored by Creekstone Farms.  Acclaimed Chefs Bryce Statham (Blue Moon Fish Co) and Oliver Saucy (Café Maxx) competed, stirring up innovative dishes on the spot using selected ingredients.  Chef Statham was named “top toque”, with Creekstone donating $5000 to Share our Strength in his name as the winner of the close contest.

Share Our Strength, based in Washington, D.C., is the nation’s largest hunger fighting organization, working to end childhood hunger through various fundraising platforms such as Taste of the Nation.  Local beneficiaries are the South Florida Hunger Coalition, Florence Fuller Child Development Centers in Boca Raton, and Feeding South Florida.

“This year we recognized our ‘Platinum Chefs’, the great local culinarians who have shown strong commitment to Share Our Strength, long-term participation in Taste of the Nation, and dedication to the goal of eliminating childhood hunger in our area,” Murphy said.  “We are proud to be a part of a nationwide effort taking place from May- August in more than 45 cities throughout the U.S. and Canada, and especially to be able to help feed hungry kids here in South Florida.”

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Fort Lauderdale is nationally sponsored by American Express, Sysco, Food Network, Brown-Forman and S. Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water. It is locally sponsored by Panache a Classic Party Rentals Company, Mike Sipe Entertainment, Creekstone Farms, Cypress Financial Group,

Whole Foods Team

Nespresso, Lincoln, Whole Foods Market, NEOART Photography and other generous individuals and businesses. One hundred percent of ticket sales help ensure no kid in America grows up hungry.

For more information on the Fort Lauderdale/South Palm Beach County Taste of the Nation please visit www.strengthflorida.org.  For information on Share Our Strength and for tickets to other Taste events taking place nationwide, please visit www.strength.org.

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