Image courtesy of James Beard Foundation
2018 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Bakers Belinda Leong and Michel Suas of b. patisserie were among more than a dozen culinary professionals in attendance for the launch of a six-week-long traveling series aimed at bringing unique dining and educational programs to ten culinary destinations across the country.

The 2018 Taste America series, presented by the James Beard Foundation, spotlights delicious food from around the country while amplifying the Foundation’s food waste and sustainability initiatives and directly contributing to the Foundation's Scholarship programs. A portion of the proceeds from each event on the tour will go to the Taste America Scholarship Fund, which supports local culinary students in the ten participating states.

The tour kicked off with a celebration alongside Belinda Leong and Michel Suas at an invitation-only reception on August 16 at the James Beard House in New York City featuring dishes from James Beard Award-winning chef and philanthropist Traci Des Jardins and her team.

“I am honored to be a part of the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America again this year. It is such a wonderful lineup of talented chefs and I love that they have the opportunity to bring their cuisines to different markets all around the country,” said Des Jardins. “The James Beard Foundation's commitment to sustainability and food waste initiatives so closely aligns with my own beliefs. I am excited to partner with Feeding America to ensure that we provide food for those in need and that little goes to waste.”

JBF’s 2018 Taste America will begin in late September and last until mid-November. Each featured city will celebrate the tour with weekend-long program. This will consist of a unique benefit dinner, where chefs from around the country will partner with local chefs to represent the importance of their distinct local food scenes. There will also be free in-store consumer events featuring cooking demos, tastings from local producers and artisans, and chef appearances at Sur La Table stores.

The lineup of chefs and cities looks like this:

September 28-29

New Orleans: Visiting All-Star Emily Luchetti

Phoenix: Visiting All-Star Maneet Chauhan; Local All-Star Charleen Badman

October 12-13

Los Angeles: Visiting All-Star Andrew Carmellini; Local All-Star Ludo Lefebvre

October 19-20

Louisville: Visiting All-Star Steven Satterfield; Local All-Star Annie Pettry

Seattle: Visiting All-Stars Stuart Brioza & Nicole Krasinski; Local All-Star Edouardo Jordan

October 26-27

Chicago: Visiting All-Star Karen Akunowicz; Local All-Star Sarah Grueneberg

San Francisco: Visiting All-Star Abe Conlon; Local All-Star Val Cantu

November 2-3

Boston: Visiting All-Star Renee Erickson; Local All-Star Tony Maws

Philadelphia: Visiting All-Star Jeremiah Langhorne; Local All-Star Nick Elmi

November 16-17

Austin: Visiting All-Star Sara Kramer & Sarah Hymanson; Local All-Star Michael Fojtasek