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James Beard Foundation dinner tour is returning to KC, this year at the Nelson

Last year’s Taste America tour stop in Kansas City was in a ballroom at the Hilton President hotel.
Last year’s Taste America tour stop in Kansas City was in a ballroom at the Hilton President hotel. jsilva@kcstar.com

Kansas City is a stop on the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America tour — again.

The $275-a-person benefit dinner will be hosted by Kansas City’s James Beard award-winning chef Debbie Gold and all-star chef Tony Mantuano of Chicago’s Spiaggia.

It will be one of 10 dinners scheduled in various cities throughout the fall. Kansas City hosted its first tour dinner last fall at the Hilton President hotel. This year, the Nov. 10 dinner moves to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Money raised at the event is earmarked for culinary scholarships. The weekend-long celebration includes free cooking demos by Gold and Mantuano at Sur la Table on Nov. 11.

Gold led The American Restaurant twice, and she is currently back as executive chef for the newly converted special events space while continuing to serve as a restaurant consultant.

She says last year’s Kansas City James Beard dinner was one of the fastest selling on the Taste America tour lineup. This year’s stops include Boston, San Francisco, Austin, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Phoenix, Seattle, Chicago and Philadelphia.

The tour dinner’s popularity is due in part to a legacy of James Beard benefit dinners that were held annually at The American Restaurant starting as far back as the mid-’90s.

“Kansas City has been aware of the James Beard Foundation for a long time,” Gold says. “I’ve always believed in how (the foundation) supported … people working in the industry, supporting (us) before the whole star chef thing exploded.”

The late James Beard is considered the father of American cuisine. Winning an award from the foundation is considered a culinary Oscar.

Gold will be joined by chef Jonathan Pye of the Nelson’s Rozzelle Court and pastry chef Megan Garrelts of Bluestem and Rye. Tickets are available at jamesbeard.org/tasteamerica.

Jill Silva is The Star’s James Beard award-winning food editor: 816-234-4395, @kcstarfood

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