Taste of the Nation Santa Barbara
Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation® Santa Barbara has inspired several local chefs to lend their extensive talents to this premier culinary fundraising event. The goal? Raising money and awareness of childhood hunger in Santa Barbara County and the Nation. The locavore spirit not only resides in the foodie nomenclature, but in fundraising, too. Giving back to community, in more ways than one, is what these chefs are all about.
Jessica Foster, of her eponymous confectionery, has participated in Taste of the Nation Santa Barbara since its inception five years ago. Having been raised in the Central California area, Jessica knows that hand making every truffle, using quality local ingredients, makes all the difference. Asked why she has been involved in Taste of the Nation Santa Barbara, Jessica replied, “I’ve been asked to do alot of fundraisers but I keep coming back to Taste of the Nation because it involves good food and good people passionate about a good cause. And, it’s fun.”
Ron True, of the recently opened Arlington Tavern located at 21 West Victoria Street, began as a young chef at very same location when it was then the SOhO. He attended cooking school in Bourgogne France and ventured into kitchens worldwide, including NYC, Spain and Italy. He also spent time at the renowned San Francisco restaurant, Zuni Cafe, where Roast Chickens and Ceasar Salads have become foodie Meccas. Using the many influences from his experiences he has brought an inspired menu to the Arlington Tavern that he calls “New American Farm Fresh.” Chef True is excited to participate in Taste of the Nation Santa Barbara. “I’ve participated in Taste of the Nation events back in New York and it’s a great way to give back to the community, and I am very happy to be back.”
Mossin Sugich, of Blush Restaurant and Bar, was born in Santa Barbara yet raised in the United States, England and The Middle East. He was inspired by his grandmother and aunt to start cooking at twelve and continued his passion by enrolling in Santa Barbara City College’s Culinary Program. Chef Sugich has worked at many of the top restaurants in Santa Barbara, including Elements, the Four Seasons Biltmore and the San Ysidro Ranch before becoming the head chef at Blush. He has been participating in Taste of the Nation since 2008. He says that childhood hunger issues “hit home for me because growing up my mother’s family were all very involved with charity, and feeding the needy, but not in the just donating to charity type of charity. In the middle east melting pot, where a lot of different immigrants came to work, there was a lot of poverty. My family used to go buy bags of rice, and portion it out and go to the slums of the city. We would need to distribute it with a truck on-the-go, because we would get mobbed. It also hits home because I have a daughter and son on the way, so needless to say, it saddens me to see children hungry in any part of the world.”
Brian Champlin, of the Succulent Cafe and Trading Company in Solvang, had been working in the Santa Barbara restaurant scene for many years at venues such as Elements and The Wine Cask before following his dream of opening up his restaurant earlier this year. “Cowboy Western comfort food with French cooking techniques” is how Brian’s food has been described, but his fare can be summed up in one word; delicious. Actually, add another word to describe the cafe’s deliciousness; bacon. Brian started a charcuterie and Succulent actually makes and sells their own bacon that lives up to their name. Keeping it local and caring about community is important to Brian, so his involvement to help childhood hunger locally comes as no surprise. “This is a great event. Food, fun and all for a good cause. And, doing something for the kids helps me sleep at night.”
On May 20, you can meet these chefs, along with many more and you too can give back to our local Santa Barbara community. All funds raised by Taste of the Nation Santa Barbara help support Share Our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger and benefits the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.
Taste of the Nation® Santa Barbara is nationally sponsored by American Express, Sysco, Food Network, and is presented locally by The Daily Sound, The Montecito Messenger and 805 Living Magazine.
Additional local sponsors include the Montecito Country Club, Mentor Worldwide LLC, Montecito Bank & Trust, DCH Lexus of Santa Barbara, The Naked Grape and DRY Soda.
Tickets for Taste of the Nation® Santa Barbara are $65 for General Admission and $95 for VIP and can be purchased by visiting http://ce.strength.org/events/taste-nation-santa-barbara