Taste of Taste of the Nation

Looking around the Westin ballroom Sunday night, I was overwhelmed by one thought: Restaurateurs in Denver are unbelievably generous. Two dozen chefs had volunteered their time, and their supplies, and their sous chefs, to cook up a storm at the 21st annual Taste of the Nation Share Our Strength benefit to combat childhood hunger.

Unbelievably generous, and unbelievably patient, since they had to put up with "celebrity" sous chefs such as myself.

Best moments: hearing bona fide celebrities Hazel Miller and Jake Schroeder singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" together -- the first time these two have done so; taking a bite of the lamb that Vesta Dipping Grill/Steuben's chef Matt Selby had prepared for our table (by then, I'd wisely gotten out of the kitchen); stealing a plate of Rioja chef/owner Jennifer Jasinski's amazing pea risotto.

Worst moments: Biting into the mysterious juniper marshmallow prepared by a chef who shall go nameless; watching the room go dark as Senator Gary Hart was praising SOS, which was started by Bill Shore, one of his aides back in the '80s.

But all in all, doing good never tasted so good. -- Patricia Calhoun

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