4/30/2013 05:19:00 PM

Photos: Taste of The Nation Takes Manhattan With A-List Chefs, Bartenders

One of the most anticipated fundraisers in the New York culinary world is the annual Taste of the Nation shindig, which drew the A-list of the city food and beverage scene to 82 Mercer. Last night guests not only gathered to raise money to end childhood hunger for Share Our Strength, but were also treated to multiple floors of amazing food and drink (numerous attendees shared their thoughts that this was easily the best year yet). The bash was chaired on the food side by chefs Marc Murphy & Alex Guarnaschelli, and on the drinks side by master mixologists Julie Reiner and Dale DeGroff. All of them were on hand to work the crowd, dish out drinks and sign books.

Chefs from most of New York's best restaurants served up small plates by the dozen. We particularly enjoyed the theatrics from Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria's Justin Smilie's; the man brought a blow torch that he used to melt/incinerate bone marrow for his bone marrow bruschetta with fava beans. On the opposite end of the decadence spectrum Amanda Cohen at Dirt Candy was serving gorgeous tomato tarts with smoked feta when she wasn't taking her turn at the book signing station.

And if drinking was more your speed, the choices were endless with virtually every New York cocktail bar of note pouring booze by the punchbowl. The Pouring Ribbons team really knocked it out of the park with their Cherub Rock cocktail. And the boys at Employees Only were holding down the VIP fort with the Jones Act. We're just sad we missed Eben Freeman's fernet stout that he was serving on tap in the second floor room, but we look forward to having that once his and Michael White's new joint The Butterfly finally touches down. Oh, and if the staff at your favorite restaurant seems a bit slow tonight - be forgiving. Sure they had a blast last night but it was for a good cause.


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