The annual Taste of the Nation food event took place last night in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier and more than 1,500 people came out on a gorgeous August night to sample food and drinks from nearly 100 of Chicago's top chefs and mixologists.
This year's affair was a substantial step up from 2010, which took place inside a sweltering and packed Aragon Ballroom. Last night was a huge success—the room was spacious, it was a cool night, there was plenty to eat and the night was capped off with an spectacular fireworks show off the east end of Navy Pier. Many of the city's top chefs were in attendance serving bites to the hungry masses, who helped raise more than $250,000 for Share Our Strength, a national organization working to end childhood hunger.
Dozens of outstanding dishes were handed out throughout the night, including a lamb barbacoa taco with salsa borracha from Rick Bayless; corn soup with pickled shrimp and Nichols Farm tomato from Avec's Koren Grieveson and Blackbird's Bryce Caron; fluffy potato gnocchi with Sicilian pesto from Old Town Social's Jared Van Camp; a crazy delicious Klug Farm peach and foie gras cobbler from Cafe des Architectes Greg Biggers; The Bedford's Mark Steuer's take on a reuben sandwich with corned lamb and zucchini pickles; John des Rosiers' chilled goat cheese soup with whipped black truffle and crispy onion; and the "Fig Thing," a beautiful plate with crisp bacon, blueberry, fennel, frisee, goat cheese and radish from Sprout's Dale Levitski. If you weren't able to attend the affair, but still want to help stamp out childhood hunger, visit Share Our Strength to make a donation.