Taste of the Browns Celebrates 20 Years
On Monday, September 24, Northeast Ohians came out to First Energy Stadium to support the 20th anniversary of Taste of the Browns, a private fundraising event benefitting the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
With 1,000+ supporters, the annual evening is a multi-faceted event with the primary (and aforementioned) function supporting meals for those in need while it also provides an opportunity for local restaurants and culinary schools to showcase samples of their finest entrees and desserts. And with any fundraising event, there’s always an opportunity to win some impressive items. Autographed Baker Mayfield helmet, anyone?
This was my second time attending Taste of the Browns and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t eagerly looking forward to it…as in “little kid at Christmas looking forward to it.” You take the opportunity to help someone, combine that with the Browns and then throw in great food, well, my ears will go up like a dog’s who just got asked if he wants to go for a ride in the car. It’s like this incredible marriage of sports, food and charity that’s almost too good to be true.
Last year, future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas MC’d the event with this year’s duties being helmed by special teams workhorse Josh Cribbs and current defensive threat Christian Kirksey. Former Browns were on hand, current Browns mingled with guests, jazz bands performed in the main hall and VIP lounge and restaurateurs worked feverishly plating samples of their delicacies. Blue Pointe Grille featured a mouth-watering lobster bisque while Momocho cooked up a red chilé and chocolate molé braised lamb with smoked gouda corn masa, pickled chiles and spiced peanuts. Yes, your tongue will slap the back of your brain. It didn’t stop there though.
CST staff writer Gregg Senko poses with Browns offensive linemen Austin Corbett (left), Joel Bitonio (right), and JC Tretter (far right) at the Taste of the Browns event at First Energy Stadium.
Michael Symon’s B-Spot tabled a Georgia Peach burger topped with pulled pork, peach bourbon sauce and arugula, but the tastebud highlight of the night for me was from Chef Steve Aheimer of the Cleveland Browns Hospitality Group. His incredible concoction could easily be confused with sorcery because anything tasting that good could not have been made in a kitchen. The chargrilled vegetable polenta cake with gorgonzola cream sauce, crispy mushrooms and chive-infused extra virgin olive oil had me wishing this dish was readily available any day at a restaurant. How good was it? I don’t even like mushrooms, but I plowed through this faster than you can say first-and-goal.
As delicious as the food was and as great as the prizes were, the driving force behind the three-hour evening was getting meals to those in need via the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. When all was said and done, the 20th annual Taste of the Browns raised over $260,000. To give you an idea what that translates to, $20 provides 80 lbs. of produce. Take the evening’s donations that totaled over a quarter-million dollars and you just brought one million meals to the table. Needless to say, for an event that is only 180 minutes in length, it certainly continues to surpass expectations each year it is held. Hats off to the Cleveland Browns as an organization for supporting the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and promoting the cause to feed those in need in our communities.