Image courtesy of James Beard Foundation

James Beard Foundation president Susan Ungaro kicked off the foundation’s fifth annual Taste America tour with an August 2 event held at the James Beard House in New York City.

The invite-only reception included Honorary Taste America All-Star Thomas Keller of Bouchon Bakery, as well as 2017 Taste America All-Stars Daniel Boulud, Traci Des Jardins, Rocco DiSpirito, Tony Mantuano, and Marc Murphy. The event is the first stop on the culinary tour that will feature weekend-long programs at ten U.S. cities from September 22 to November 11.

Having chef Keller lead us into the 5th Anniversary year of this national program is made even more special since he was part of an early pilot program in 2007,” said Ungaro. “Not only is Thomas Keller the first American–born chef to hold multiple three-star Michelin Star ratings, but he is also the first American male chef to receive the Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor. His influence in supporting excellence in our culinary world is unparalleled.”

“The James Beard Foundation has contributed to the evolution of America’s dining culture,” said Keller. “I am delighted to serve as Honorary Chair of this year’s Taste America program and lend my support to the Foundation’s important mission to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders in our profession.”

Each 2017 Taste America program will feature a unique benefit dinner called A Night of Culinary Stars, prepared by a traveling Taste America All-Star, a Local Star chef, and a pastry chef.  The following cities will also have free in-store consumer events at select Sur La Table locations, featuring celebrity chef appearances, cooking demonstrations, book signings, tastings from local producers and artisans, and more:

  • Sept. 22-23 - Phoenix (All-Star Traci Des Jardins; Local Star Nobuo Fukuda)
  • Oct. 6-7 - Los Angeles (All-Star Barbara Lynch; Local Star Michael Cimarusti) and New Orleans(All-Star Rocco DiSpirito; Local Star Rebecca Wilcomb)
  • Oct. 13-14 - Philadelphia (All-Star Marc Murphy; Local Star Greg Vernick) and Seattle (All-Star Ashley Christensen; Local Star Matt Dillon)
  • Oct. 27-28 - Chicago (All-Star Michael Voltaggio; Local Star Stephanie Izard) and San Francisco (All-Star Hugh Acheson; Local Stars Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski)
  • Nov. 3-4 - Austin (All-Star Ludo Lefebvre; Local Star Tyson Cole) and Boston (All-Star Daniel Boulud; Local Star Karen Akunowicz)
  • Nov. 10-11 - Kansas City (All-Star Tony Mantuano; Local Star Debbie Gold)