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A Generous Slice of Kindness: Laguna Beach Taste of the Nation Raises Nearly $200,000 to Fight Childhood Hunger

Photo courtesy of Baldemar Fierro

Photo courtesy of Baldemar Fierro

It’s no secret that the Laguna Beach Taste of the Nation has long been one of Orange County’s most elegant food-centric fundraising events. All of its moving parts – celebrity chefs, top-flight wines, the stunning seaside cliffs of the Montage Laguna Beach – all represent the luxurious life in some form.

Yet all the gloss of the annual gathering is always held together by the desire to defeat the scourge of childhood hunger; an issue that affects a whopping one in five children nationwide. The desire that fueled this year’s event, which was held on May 17th, led to the raising of nearly $200,000 for the non-profit organization Share Our Strength and its No Kid Hungry campaign. It was a dollar amount that, in retrospect, lent a tremendous amount of gravitas to each bite consumed, every wine sipped, and each silent auction item purchased.

The importance of the event was amplified by the immense quality of the chefs and wineries present. Some of the current darlings of the local culinary scene were on hand serving up their wares, including Los Angeles-based talents Michael Hung from Faith & Flower, Marcel Vigneron from Beefsteak, and Ben Ford from Ford’s Filling Station. Their star power was matched by the liquid sumptuousness being poured by such luminous wineries like Nickel & Nickel, whose brilliant selections managed to taste even better while hearing and seeing the Pacific Ocean’s waves rhythmically pounding into the area’s rocky outcroppings. The oceanic scenery was also the perfect complement to the seafood selections being offered by Ford and Greg Daniels of Orange’s Haven Gastropub, as both chefs’ scallop-centric creations were the best bites served.

It seems odd to say that in a perfect world, a terrifically glamorous event like Laguna Beach Taste of the Nation would not necessarily need to exist. Yet as long as there are children that are going day to day without the simple comfort of a proper meal, the event and the talent that it secures ever year is essential. Judging by the amount of money that was generated this year, it is quite impactful, too.

Rich Manning is a freelance writer that has been covering Orange County’s food, wine, and lifestyle scene for ten years. He currently lives in Fountain Valley with his wife, two daughters, and two dogs.
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