The Nashville LGBT Chamber welcomed 125 more guests and nine more vendors than last year and set fundraising records at TASTE, a benefit to raise funds to support the LGBT Chamber Foundation’s mission, on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017, at Nissan Stadium, overlooking the iconic downtown Nashville skyline at night. Event proceeds will provide education, resources, and advocacy for LGBT professionals.
The food and beverage tasting event, now in its sixth year, was held at Nissan Stadium West Club for a second consecutive year and was the largest, most successful to date, featured thirty food and beverage vendors. Some of the samples included lamb chili, housemade agnolotti, a squash bowl with seasonal veggies, gingerbread spice cupcakes, craft cocktails, and much more. Awards were presented in nine different categories. Winners included:
Best Food Presentation - EiO & The Hive for "Farro Fawcett" Octopus Entree
Best Booth Decor - A Catered Affair
Best Beer - Bell’s Beer Winter White Ale
Best Wine - Natchez Hills Vineyard & Winery
Best Cocktail - Sinema - Bad & Rougie
Best Appetizer - Butcher and Bee - Avocado Crispy Rice Salad
Best Dessert - Jeni’s Ice Cream - Pumpkin Pie Sundae
Best Entree - Sinema - Chef Kyle’s House Made Agnilotti
People’s Choice - The Mockingbird - “Tatchos” tater tots topped with lamb chili
“We welcome the diversity of the vendors. I feel like they are a reflection of Nashville and our Chamber. We had vendors ranging from fine dining to food trucks. Guests could taste meatloaf and banana pudding and a few yards away eat octopus and a lobster tartlet,” said Lisa Howe, CEO. “The vendors serve their finest dishes and drinks, display their best decor and aesthetics, and bring high-energy and friendly staff. I think this is a tribute to the loyalty of our guests. Our members and partners want to do business with people who support the LGBT and Ally community, and this is a professional and fun way to support the community.”
This is the second TASTE for People’s Choice winner, The Mockingbird, who has been participating for longer than they’ve been open. Co-founder and “front-of-house extraordinaire” Mikey Corona says that being a member of the Chamber and participating in TASTE are great ways to be embedded in the Nashville LGBT community.
The successful silent auction and inaugural live auction raised more money than previous auctions. Items included a guitar signed by Reba McEntire, a Dell XPS13 laptop/tablet convertible, autographed sports memorabilia from the Predators and Titans, a one-week stay in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and a limited edition rainbow Cracker Barrel rocking chair.
“I am proud of the amazing growth of this event,” said Jack Davis, event chair. “Nashville has a plethora of food tasting events, but vendors and guests continue to tell us TASTE is one of their favorites. We have benefitted from the right combination of venue, leadership, sponsors, volunteers, vendors, marketing, and purpose. The desire to support the LGBT community inspires so many people to support this event, and it has resulted in one of the best tasting events in Nashville. We look forward to a larger and more successful TASTE in 2018.”
TASTE: A Benefit for Nashville LGBT Chamber Foundation was chaired by Jack Davis, founder and owner of JD Events & Festivals. Greg Cason, Clayton Klutts (Silent Auction co-Chair), Amy Parker (Volunteer Chair), Ron Sanford (Event Design Chair), Jennifer Austin (Competition Chair), Courtney Lawrence, Christopher Lester (Marketing Chair), Donna Drehmann (Silent Auction co-Chair), Terry Vo, Ron Snitker, and Joe Woolley served on the committee. Michael Van Kerckhove served as the TASTE 2017 Coordinator.
A huge thank you to our sponsors and partners: Nissan (presenting sponsor); Dell (silent auction sponsor); Alpha Graphics Music City, AMP, Anode, Bar Magnolia, Capital Financial Group, Comcast, Focus Magazine, Inspired Concepts & Events, JD Events & Festivals, M&M Event Rentals, Mantra Artisan Ales, MPack Photography, Medi-Copy, Music 4U DJ & Event Services, Nossi College of Art, PostMates, and Ron Sanford Productions.
Singer Meghan Linsey (The Voice) was this year’s celebrity emcee.