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Chow down for a good cause at Taste of NFL in Fort Worth

Pass the rolls, please. We're licking our lips in anticipation of the Taste of the NFL, which will be held at the Fort Worth Convention Center on Saturday night, Feb. 5 -- the eve of Super Bowl XLV. This will be the 20th anniversary of the charity event, which has raised $10 million over two decades and has an ambitious goal of raising $1 million in Cowtown.

All the proceeds go to food banks, with 30 percent earmarked for North Texas and the rest allocated among the other 31 National Football League franchise cities. Liz Brown, events director for taste of the NFL, said that the anniversary will feature some surprises and added attractions, including the Flavors of North Texas featuring some of the regions top chefs.

"The excitement coming to North Texas is ridiculous," Brown said. "Cudos to the host committee. Talk about a well-oiled machine."

The event features an outstanding chef from each NFL city who prepares the dish at his or her restaurant, then ships it to the Super Bowl site where people can sample the dishes and wash it down with wine from Gallo wineries. Each chef is also paired with a current or former NFL player so the event appeals to "foodies and fans" alike, Brown said.

"For one night it brings all the country's restaurants under one roof," Brown said.

There is also a silent auction featuring memorabilia and entertainment. In the past, Wynonna, Brooks & Dunn and Bare Naked Ladies have performed. Brown said this year's entertainer should be named in a month or so.

In additional to the annual Taste of the NFL, a number of teams, among them the Cowboys, have a Taste of the NFL annually as well. Those teams have combined to raise another $6 million for food banks.

As part of the countdown to Taste of the NFL, a North Texas dinner series will be launched in September with local chefs participating. They include Fort Worth chefs Tim Love, Grady Spears, Michael Thomson, Blaine Staniford and Joe Bonnell, and Dallas chefs Kent Rathbun, David Holben, Dean Fearing, Stephan Pyles, Sharon Hage and Brian Olenjack.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.tasteofthenfl.com. VIP tickets cost $600 and enables entry at 6 p.m. Regular admission tickets are $500 and allow entry at 7 p.m. A corporate table for 10 is priced at $6,000. For more info call 952-835-7621 or e-mail at info@tasteofthenfl.com.

Pete Alfano    


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