The annual Taste of the Nation event, presented by Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, brought together some of L.A.’s top chefs and mixologists at the Culver City Media Center on Sunday, June 3, for a sunny and breezy afternoon filled with fine food and drink.
One hundred percent of the proceeds go to helping fight hunger in America, something board member and Border Grill co-owner Mary Sue Milliken has been passionate about for 20 years.
“We’ve established a ‘breakfast after the bell' program in all LAUSD schools, to connect children with the nutritious food they need and get the schools to implement getting them engaged in eating their breakfasts,” Milliken tells L.A. Weekly in between serving Border Grill arepas stuffed with Cacique cheeses.
“Everybody eats together at the beginning of the day, and teachers have told us absenteeism has gone down and test scores have gone up. It’s a model that is really working,” she says. “We’re working on Oakland and San Francisco now….”
Executive chef Holly Jivin from the Bazaar by Jose Andrés at SLS Beverly Hills was stirring up massive amounts of seafood and vegetarian paella. With the help of husband Alan Schulman, Akasha Richmond from Akasha and AR Cucina dished up baby kale and avocado salad with pickled nopales and puffed quinoa in an avocado vinaigrette.
Hagop Giragossian from Dog Haus had a Huli-Huli dog on the menu, made with chicken and pork sausage, sweet ginger glaze, bouillonnaise, pineapple and jalapeno relish, with crispy onions served on a grilled King’s Hawaiian roll.
Dessert came courtesy of the creative minds at the Art Institute of California Inland Empire campus: Snickerberries. These were individual portions of layered chocolate, peanut butter mousse interlaced with dark chocolate ganache, cajeta and a capsule of Chambord raspberry sauce to be popped and distributed as desired over the rich concoction.
The historic Culver Hotel across the street from the festival treated guests to nostalgic blackberry pavlovas with lavender honey cream in true Old Hollywood style.