7/15/2013 05:11:00 PM

Help End Childhood Hunger With Taste of the Nation

Taste of the Nation's chef chair Elissa Narow
Why don’t we think about hunger when we talk about food? Taste of the Nation, an annual event held by Share Our Strength, aims to address this issue by bringing together Chicago’s finest chefs to raise money for food-insecure children in America.

“The problem with food insecurity in our country is ridiculous for lack of a better word,” says the event’s chef chair Elissa Narow (Perenial Virant and Vie). This is why for the past five years, Narrow helped gather chefs including representatives from Acadia, Balena, Blackbird, Spiaggia and even soon-to-open Three Dots and a Dash. Each of the 100 chefs will prepare a dish or a cocktail for the party held on August 14 in the Grand Ballroom of Navy Pier.

That's not all that Narow, along with other chef participants, are doing to end the hunger issue. In early June, she and chef Jared Van Camp (Nellcote and Old Town Social) traveled to Washington DC to participate in a conference with Share Our Strength supporters from around the county. The conference coincided with the voting in the Senate over cuts to the SNAP farm bill. The bill, passed a few days ago in the House, separated food stamps from the annual bill that has provide $80 billion over the past 50 years to keeps tens of millions of Americans from going hungry.

“The number of children struggling with hunger in America now totals almost 1 in 5, that number is even higher in the state of Illinois at 1 in 4,” says Taste of the Nation chair RJ Melman. Narow and Van Camp traveled to Capitol Hill to meet with five representatives to emphasize the importance of protecting the SNAP bill. Narow explained that the problem is not only with food access, but also with food education, which is why Share Our Strength also hosts a Culinary Matter program to educate Americans about how to select and utilize nutritious food.

“I think because we’re so closely involved with food, and Share Our Strength was founded on a food issue, chefs were active from the get-go. It was something that we feel very strongly about on a base level of food and food nutrition,” Narow says. Despite the outcome of the SNAP bill, she and others keep fighting hunger at home with Taste of the Nation, which has raised $3 million in Chicago and $80 million nationally for the No Kid Hungry campaign since the first event in 1988.

Tickets for this years event are on sale now for $125 or $300 for VIP admission. Help make sure that no child goes hungry by purchasing one now or donating to Share Our Strength.

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