Ready to wine and dine for a good cause? One of the region’s biggest taste events is back with a new name and an even greater focus on feeding hungry children in Central Florida.
The ballroom at the Orlando World Center Marriott will once again be turned into an extravaganza of tastes and flavors Aug. 19, as Taste! Central Florida brings a roster of 40 top restaurants. The event supports Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and Coalition for the Homeless.
Formerly Taste of the Nation, the event’s new name reflects an even greater emphasis on supporting anti-hunger efforts in Central Florida, as opposed to a nationwide scope.
All proceeds from the event will go toward fighting childhood hunger in the region.
New to this year’s event are nine noteworthy restaurants, including The COOP, Ace Café, Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen, Eleven Restaurant at Reunion Resort, Plancha at Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Satu-Li Canteen at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Savor at Osceola Heritage Parks, Raglan Road, and Urbain 40 American Brasserie.
Four local Winter Park eateries will be present at the prestigious event.
4 Rivers and The COOP
The two restaurants founded by Winter Park Pitmaster and Chef John Rivers both will be present at this year’s Taste!
Rivers has had a long history of giving back to the community, tracing back to the start of 4 Rivers – when the chef served barbecue out of his garage to raise money for a local family whose young daughter was battling cancer.
“4 Rivers is family-owned, community focused and locally made,” 4 Rivers Donations Account Manager Carolyn McDowell said. “At the heart of our culture is a keen appetite for contributing back into the growth of the community, and with roots in ministry, we’re dedicated to supporting those in need.”
“We’re such big supporters of the outreach and care both Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and Coalition for the Homeless provide to our local community,” she said. “This is why supporting Taste! Central Florida is such an honor for us.”
An offering at Taste! Central Florida will combine a dish from both 4 Rivers and The COOP: 30-day aged brisket from 4 Rivers sliced over creamy Parmesan grits from The COOP, drizzled with a cabernet reduction.
The Ravenous Pig
The popular Winter Park restaurant hasn’t missed a beat after moving to its new location along Fairbanks Avenue.
Known as one of Winter Park’s top dining spots, The Ravenous Pig is back at this year’s event to serve its own unique cuisine and craft beer.
General Manager Scott Geisler said he looks forward to the restaurant’s return to Taste!
“It’s a cool event; it brings a lot of people from all over — sometimes people who haven’t necessarily spent a lot of time in Winter Park,” Geisler said. “It’s cool to get that exposure with a new set of people.
“We tend to like to support charities where the finances stay local and it really helps the community here,” he said.
The Ravenous Pig will serve its shrimp shooters with leche de tigre, along with several of its own house brewed Cask & Larder beer on draft.
The esteemed eatery at 1008 S. Orlando Ave. will be bringing its best tastes to this year’s event.
Known for its popular chef-driven menu and hand-crafted cocktails, Marlow’s Tavern looks forward to seeing familiar faces and building an even greater following while supporting an event that helps hungry children.
“The Marlow’s team is looking forward to the upcoming Taste! Central Florida event,” Marlow’s Tavern Partner Alan Palmieri said. “Giving back to our community is important to us, and Taste! is one of our favorite and worthwhile events of the year.”
Marlow’s Tavern will be tempting guests with a Jack Daniels-glazed pork belly with Logan Turnpike grits and a pickled peach relish. Marlow’s will also be serving one of its unique cocktails: the Southern Charmer, a mix of Old Forester Bourbon, Domaine de Canton, peach nectar, fresh lemon and Scrappy’s Lavender Bitters.