James Beard Foundation


text and photo courtesy of the James Beard Foundation

The James Beard Foundation will be bringing its 2018 Taste of America national culinary tour to Phoenix next month.The traveling series creates unique dining experiences and educational opportunities to just 10 culinary destinations in the United States. In addition to spotlighting delicious food from around the country, Taste America focuses on amplifying the Foundation’s food waste and sustainability initiatives. 

Above: Participating chefs in Taste America 2018, Phoenix. Bottom row, left to right: Helen Yung, Danielle Leoni, Samantha Sanz and Charleen Badman. Top row, left to right: Sarah Chisholm, Chrysa Robertson, Scott Holmes, Martin Nakatsu, Charles Wiley and Doug Robson.

In addition, proceeds will help to support the Foundation’s scholarship programs. Established in 1991, the James Beard Foundation Scholarship Program assists aspiring and established culinary professionals who plan to further their education at a licensed or accredited culinary school or hospitality institution, college or university. As of 2018, the Foundation will have awarded close to $8 million in financial aid to over 2,000 recipients.

In the Valley, the weekend-long event will kick off on Thursday, September 27, with a welcome reception at Dominick’s Steakhouse, Scottsdale Quarter. Guests will have the opportunity to meet-and-greet participating chefs while enjoying a cocktail and tasting reception.

On Friday, September 28, the collaborative dinner benefit will be held at Mountain Shadows Resort, Paradise Valley. Amy and Tim Louis are chairs and CBS 5 news anchor Sean McLaughlin will emcee the evening.

Friday’s event will begin with a reception featuring cocktails and hors d’oeuvres prepared by local chefs and restaurateurs. These include Scott Holmes, Little Miss BBQ, Phoenix; Danielle Leoni, The Breadfruit & Rum Bar, Phoenix; Chrysa Robertson, Rancho Pinot, Scottsdale; Doug Robson, Gallo Blanco and Otro Café, Phoenix; and Samantha Sanz, Talavera at The Four Seasons Resort, Scottsdale. 

After the cocktail reception, guests will be seated for dinner prepared by a Taste America Visiting All-Star; Charles Wiley, host chef of Hearth ’61 at Mountain Shadows Resort; and Taste America Local All-Star Charleen Badman, FnB, Scottsdale. 

A dessert reception will conclude the evening. The chefs preparing this course include Martin Nakatsu, Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch; Sarah Chisholm, Tempe Public Market and Helen Yung, Sweet Republic, Phoenix and Scottsdale.

On Saturday, September 29, free chef demonstrations by Visiting All-Stars Maneet Chauhan and Emily Luchetti  and Local All-Star Charleen Badman will be held at Sur La Table, Scottsdale Fashion Square.

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse and sustainable for everyone. For more information and ticket sales, visit https://www.jamesbeard.org/taste-america-phoenix