What James Beard Foundation’s Virtual Taste America Event Will Look Like in Phoenix

Taste America is an annual dining event put on by the James Beard Foundation. Normally, it works like a touring dinner series, hosted by top restaurants in major cities across the county. But this year — surprise — the event is going virtual.

For 2020’s virtual dining event in Phoenix, Taste America will be hosted by The Breadfruit & Rum Bar (one of 20 restaurants in 20 cities) on October 18. Participants (meaning us diners) will be bringing home a three-course meal prepared and packaged by Chef Danielle Leoni and The Breadfruit team.

The takeout meal starts with a smoked trout, cheddar, and shortbread miniature quiche appetizer. That’s followed by two entrée choices. One is jerk pork tenderloin with Arizona callaloo and fried cassava dumplings. The other is jerk winter squash and cauliflower, but again with Arizona callaloo and fried cassava dumplings. Dessert will be an almond-coconut cake.

To drink, there’s wine and whiskey courtesy of Dough Wines (led by winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen) and Rabbit Hole Distillery. So that means, yes, participants must be at least 21 to pick up a meal kit.

But that’s not all.

The cost is $150. But participants also get access to cooking demos via a national broadcast with James Beard-famous chefs and special guests. The broadcast will be hosted by celebrity Chef Antonia Lofaso and will offer two chef-packed roundtables, a round of food-knowledge trivia, appearances by food writer Gail Simmons and chef Carla Hall, and music by DJ Hesta Prynn.

Meals will be ready at 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 18. A link to join the broadcast is shared once a ticket is purchased.

For tickets and more information, see the Taste America website. And while you’re at it, check out JBF’s Open for Good campaign.