Super Bowl tastes: Atlanta plays host to gourmet gatherings
January 28, 2000
ATLANTA (CNN) -- Super Bowl chow can be more than chips and dip. In Atlanta this weekend, it's a culinary extravaganza.
At one grand feast, top chefs from all 31 National Football League cities will serve an estimated 3,000 guests at the sold-out Taste of the NFL. Each chef will be paired with an alumnus player from the hometown team.
The annual event at the suburban Gwinnett Civic and Cultural Center features a specialty dish (with complementary wines) from each restaurant. Proceeds from the $300-a-ticket dinner are donated to hunger organizations including Second Harvest, the United Way and local groups across the nation.
Chef Michael Tuohy of Sunset Grill in Nashville will be making about 1,500 servings of Habanero Bread Pudding, a simple dessert that features the sweet taste of butterscotch with a kick of hot pepper sauce. "It's one of those great wintry desserts," he says.
What does it take to make dessert for so many? For Tuohy, the ingredient list includes 600 eggs, 10 gallons of milk and 35 pounds of butterscotch chips.
Loretta Runyan, wife of offensive right tackle Jon Runyan, will be representing the Tennessee Titans.
Attendees can meet and mingle with the chefs and players. In addition to a silent auction of sports memorabilia, there is musical entertainment including the group Brooks & Dunn.
This is the ninth year for the event. It started with about 1000 guests in 1992 when the Super Bowl was held in organizer Wayne Kostroski's home city of Minneapolis.
"The NFL gave us the blessing to try it," he says. "We've raised, in eight years, $2 million." Last year's meal netted a record $580,000.
The chefs' task is no vacation. They come for four days, bring their own ingredients, and cook up a grand total of 33,000 servings of a single meal.
For the St. Louis Rams, Bill Cardwell and Dave Owen's of Cardwell's are putting together Warm Sandwich of Roasted Winter Squash and Root Vegetables with Red-Lentil Hummus and Aged Gouda Cheese on Savory Walnut Bread.
From the host city of Atlanta, Chef Kevin Rathbun of NAVA is cooking up Maple Leaf Farms Duck and Tasso Gumbo. Contributions from other cities include Bing Cherry Soup from Seattle, Pork Strudel from Indianapolis and Key Lime Mojo Shrimp from Miami.
For the ticketless or those on a more modest budget, you can create the meal yourself. Taste of the NFL sells a restaurant guide featuring recipes for each gourmet dish through it's web site for $19.95.
Local restaurant sampler
Closer to downtown Super Bowl festivities is the Taste of Soul.
Overlooking the city's Piedmont Park, the food fest at the Park Tavern restaurant features specialties from African-American owned area restaurants including Justin's, Chantrelles, Sylvia's, and Gladys and Ron's Chicken and Waffles.
Entertainment includes a cooking contest between NFL players judged by local celebrities including Atlanta's Mayor Bill Campbell.
The cost is $20 the day of the event. The Park Tavern is located at 500 10th Street. Call (800) 289-6187 for more information.
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