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Taste of the Nation kicks off with Hinges of Hope Chefs Tour

April 1, 2009 |  6:03 pm


Yesterday afternoon marked the official kickoff event for Taste of the Nation 2009, which will take place in Culver City on June 14. Each year Taste of the Nation brings together some of the city's best chefs to donate their time and culinary prowess to raise funds to fight childhood hunger.

Yesterday's Hinges of Hope Chefs Tour featured a walk through the newly opened St. Joseph Center's culinary training facility. Built with funds raised by Taste of the Nation, the facility will, according to a news release, "provide free child care and nutrition to impoverished pre-schoolers and toddlers." Its culinary training program will give free job training to disadvantaged adults so they can seek work in the food and beverage industry.

Chefs taking the tour included Mary Sue Milliken, Fred Eric, Akasha Richmond, Jill Davie, Kazuto Matsusaka and Evan Kleiman. They also observed a culinary training class and gave an interactive cooking class for children from St. Joseph's Early Learning Center. OK, they made "ants on a log," which consists of raisins and peanut butter on celery, which I think we can all agree is a perfect, and healthful, snack.

To buy tickets for this year's Taste of the Nation event, visit www.tasteofthenationla.org. Participating restaurants include Jar, Lucques, the Foundry on Melrose, STK, Palate Food + Wine, Mozza and Nobu (among many others).

— Jessica Gelt

Photos: Left, chef Roberto Maggioni of Locanda del Lago gives a lesson in making "ants on a log." Right, Evan Kleiman, Fred Eric and Mary Sue Milliken at St. Joseph Center. Credit: Cerraeh Laykin.