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  • Writer's pictureDiana Brandt

JBF Taste America Phoenix

The James Beard Foundation (JBF) is pleased to announce that tickets for the fifth anniversary year of the Taste America® national culinary tour are now on sale at The cross-country program will heat up this fall in ten dynamic culinary destinations including Austin, Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle.

Phoenix’s weekend-long Taste America program will feature a welcome reception, a one-of-a-kind benefit dinner prepared by Taste America All-Star Traci Des Jardins and Local Star Nobuo Fukuda, as well as free in-store consumer events at Sur La Table® - Scottsdale Fashion Square with celebrity chef appearances, cooking demonstrations, book signings, tastings from local producers and artisans, and more.

Phoenix’s itinerary will kick off the three-day Taste America weekend on Thursday, September 21 with a welcome reception at Fox Restaurant Concepts’ Little Cleo’s Seafood Legend at The Yard. Guests will meet and greet participating chefs while enjoying a delicious cocktail and tasting reception.

The weekend continues on Friday, September 22 at Mountain Shadows with A Night of Culinary Stars, an exclusive dining event benefiting the James Beard Foundation. The evening will begin with a reception filled with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from local chefs and restaurateurs, including Aaron Chamberlin (St. Francis, Phoenix), Dustin Christofolo (Quiessence, Phoenix), Lori Hashimoto (Hana

Japanese Eatery, Phoenix), Branden Levine (Sel Restaurant, Scottsdale, AZ) and Beau MacMillan*** (elements at Sanctuary, Paradise Valley, AZ). Emcee for the evening will be CBS News Anchor Sean McLaughlin. Afterwards, guests will be seated for an extraordinary one-night-only dinner prepared by Taste America All-Star Traci Des Jardins (Jardinière, San Francisco), along with Local Star Nobuo Fukuda (Nobuo at Teeter House, Phoenix) and host chef Charles Wiley (Hearth ’61 at Mountain Shadows, Paradise Valley, AZ). The evening will conclude with a dessert reception with sweets from local pastry chefs Tammie Coe (Tammie Coe Cakes, Phoenix), Country Velador (Super Chunk, Scottsdale, AZ), and Cassie Weisz (Churn, Phoenix).

The benefit dinner is co-chaired by Honorary Chair Bill Nassikas (President and COO, Westroc Hospitality), whose father, James Nassikas (owner of San Francisco’s Stanford Court Hotel), was a personal friend of James Beard.

Mountain Shadows has arranged for a special overnight package which includes complimentary drinks upon arrival, a special arrival amenity, an upgraded room type upon arrival (based on availability) and admittance to the dinner. Occupancy for the night of the event only.

On Saturday, September 23, free in-store consumer events will take place at Sur La Table® located at Scottsdale Fashion Square, 7014 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251. Activities of the day will include cooking demonstrations by All-Star Traci Des Jardins and chef Chris Bianco* (Bianco Restaurants, Phoenix), book signings, tastings from local producers and artisans, as well as product demonstrations and tastings from our national sponsors. Reservations for the free cooking demonstrations will begin September 8 at

Visit Phoenix’s event page for the full schedule and more details.

Below is the JBF’s Fifth Anniversary Taste America program calendar:

· Sept. 22-23

o Phoenix: All-Star Traci Des Jardins*; Local Star Nobuo Fukuda*

· Oct. 6-7

o Los Angeles: All-Star Barbara Lynch*; Local Star Michael Cimarusti**

o New Orleans: All-Star (to be announced soon); Local Star Rebecca Wilcomb*

· Oct. 13-14

o Philadelphia: All-Star Marc Murphy*; Local Star Greg Vernick*

o Seattle: All-Star (to be announced soon); Local Star Matt Dillon*

· Oct. 27-28

o Chicago: All-Star Michael Voltaggio; Local Star Stephanie Izard*

o San Francisco: All-Star Hugh Acheson*; Local Stars Stuart Brioza* & Nicole Krasinski*

· Nov. 3-4

o Austin: All-Star Ludo Lefebvre**; Local Star Tyson Cole*

o Boston: All-Star Daniel Boulud*; Local Star Karen Akunowicz**

· Nov. 10-11

o Kansas City: All-Star Tony Mantuano*; Local Star Debbie Gold*

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