Are you ready for some football? How about football, food and an opportunity to support a great cause? On February 4, Taste of the NFL celebrates the 26th anniversary of Party with a Purpose, to be held at the University of Houston. Through the Kick Hunger Challenge, which spans the entire season, Taste of the NFL raises funds to help combat hunger in the United States.
On the eve of Super Bowl Sunday, 32 of the nation’s best chefs (one from each NFL city) and a current or alumnus player from each NFL team join forces to represent their city through food, football and camaraderie at the annual Party with a Purpose. Notable chefs from across the country will prepare more than 45,000 tastings and pour more than 3,000 glasses of wine for guests throughout the evening.
Taste of the NFL CEO Wayne Kostroski told the Houston Press that this evening is like the “Who’s Who in the culinary world and sports world combined.” Taste of the NFL has raised and donated more than $25 million to food banks and nonprofit organizations in the 32 NFL cities, resulting in 275 million meals for Americans, since its inception in 1992. Kostroski explained the breakdown of the donations and how 20 percent (the largest portion) of the donated funds goes directly to the host city’s food bank. “I’ve worked alongside many of the food banks that we’ve donated to in the past, but Brian Greene and his team at the Houston Food Bank are one of the best in the country,” he said. The remaining funds are shared equally among the other cities’ local food banks.
Kostroski told us about his most memorable experience from the very first TNFL event; that would be “meeting Larry King and watching the sabre-ing of the champagne bottles!” He added that one of the coolest things is seeing the same celebrity chefs, like Emeril Lagasse, Tom Colicchio, Bobby Flay and Rick Bayless, year after year, still supporting this cause, knowing that 26 years ago, when they were only up-and-coming chefs, they were just as involved and supportive.
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At this year’s Taste of the NFL Party with a Purpose, in addition to tasty bites and famous faces, an estimated 3,000 guests will have the opportunity to contribute to the cause during the event by participating in silent and live auctions of memorabilia and gifts from the NFL and celebrity supporters. Kostroski said he is excited about the “Lunch Boxes” this year. There will be 300 tinned-lunch boxes available for purchase. For $100, guests can buy a lunchbox with the possibility of winning all kinds of celebrity memorabilia, including the chance to win a pair of Super Bowl LI tickets. Current Miss America Savvy Shields will also be at the party, wearing more than $12,000 worth of jewelry that will be raffled off throughout the night. A beautiful diamond necklace and a tennis bracelet are up for grabs for the price of a $100 raffle ticket. All proceeds from raffle ticket sales are contributed to the food banks as well.
Guests will also be treated to live music performances, which will be announced soon. Past performers include Sara Evans, Martina McBride, Bare Naked Ladies. The Houston Texans Culinary representative is chef Robert del Grande of Café Annie.
Tickets are on sale now for the 26th Annual Party with a Purpose, held at the University of Houston on February 4, 2017. Tickets may be purchased as individual guest tickets or VIP Tables.
Visit Taste of the NFL for more information regarding the event or to find out how you can help kick hunger all year long.