Huge crowd on hand for Taste of Derby Festival

Posted by chaska on May 5, 2010

Chefs of Jack Fry's

PHOTO & STORY by STEVE COOMES, freelance food  & restaurant writer

More than 1,000 hungry donors packed Slugger Field’s Hall of Fame Pavilion on April 22 for the Taste of Derby Festival. In its 23rd year, the annual fundraiser for Louisville’s Dare to Care food bank gathered more than 50 local restaurants and beverage providers who donated food and drink for the cause of feeding the area’s hungry.

Near the 5:30 opening time, some aisles got so crowded people were packed two rows deep to snatch tasty bites created by the area’s best restaurants. Led by executive chef Sean Ward, the culinary team at Jack Fry’s (see photo) served thousands of miniature sandwiches, while two aisles over, Bea Chamberlain, owner-chef at El Mundo, offered cups of cool and savory tomatillo soup. Rivue chefs Tim Baker and Melvin Dobbins scrambled to keep up with first and second tastes of seared tuna served with pickled ginger and wasabi sorbet served in single-bite spoons.

Just outside the pavilion, attendees enjoyed a little more breathing room while strolling the open-air walkway behind Slugger Field’s home plate. Amid the scenic view that USA Today recently dubbed “one of the 10 best places to watch minor league baseball,” another dozen restaurants and breweries such as Bluegrass Brewing Co., and New Albanian Brewing Co. proffered samples.

According to Dare to Care, funds raised from the event—which included several dozen luxury items donated for a silent auction—will help nearly 200,000 area families. Organizers said this year’s sellout crowd was among its largest ever.

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