26th Anniversary TASTE of Amelia Island

Sunday, October 01, 2017 from 6:00PM - 9:00PM


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Event Details

Our annual fundraiser is back and better than ever!

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The Taste of Amelia Island offers guests the opportunity to sample cuisine from the island’s best Chefs, while enjoying a selection of fine wines from a variety of distributors.

The event includes a live Chef demo during the cocktail hour, live music, a 50/50 raffle, and a Best Dish of the Taste award voted on by attendees and announced that evening on the main stage.

To add a little friendly competition to this year, we have guest Chef Tom Gray of Moxie + Cocktails and Town Hall to judge the Chef’s Choice of “Best Dish of the Taste.” Come meet Chef Tom at this year’s Taste!

Proceeds support the Volunteer Center’s work in volunteer recruitment, as well as many in-house programs that include the annual GoKids School Supply Drive, various food drives throughout the year and the original Adopt-A-Family Christmas program. As the needs in our local community grow, the Volunteer Center has been called upon to take on an increasing role in finding resources and solutions to complicated problems such as affordable housing for the financially challenged and services for the homeless.

Tickets are $100 and the dress is semi-formal. The event takes place in the Magnolia Ballroom with cocktails from 6-7 PM and food tasting from 7-9 PM. Tickets are non-refundable!

Guest Chef Judge:

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Two Best Chef: South James Beard Award nominations (2009, 2010) haven’t tempted Chef Tom Gray to rest on his laurels – if anything they have inspired him to seek new challenges beyond the comfort zone and helped prepare him for his most creative restaurant ventures to date, namely Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails at the Town Center, and the newly opened Town Hall Restaurant in Jacksonville’s historic San Marco district. Both Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails and Town Hall are the brain children of Gray and his partner in life and business, Sarah Marie Johnston. Together, and with a dedicated support team, they are leading the charge to bring a higher level of recognition to the North Florida dining scene and sustainable sourcing movement.

Born in Virginia and raised in Orange Park, Florida, Gray graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and spent the following seven years honing his craft in professional kitchens in New York City, Los Angeles and the Napa Valley. He returned to Jacksonville in 1999 where he was the founding partner and executive chef /operating partner of Bistro AIX. In December 2012, the drive to grow and expand his vision as a chef and as businessperson prompted his and Johnston’s departure from Bistro AIX as the planning and development of Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails took shape.

Want to add another event onto your TASTE ticket? Check out our packages featuring dinners by 29 South, Amelia Tavern, Burlingame, Gilbert's Underground Kitchen, and White Oak Conservation.

Want to combine multiple dinners with your TASTE ticket or just have questions about your ticket?

Call Mandy Niesen at 904-389-3622.

Create a full week of food and fun by adding on a specialty chef dinner to your TASTE of Amelia Island ticket. See below for restaurants offering exclusive dinners. Seating is limited so don't wait!

29 South

Thursday, September 28th and Friday September 29th, 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. seatings for each; 20 capacity for all seatings and non-refundable

Please join us for a four course Chef’s tasting menu highlighting the best of coastal North Florida. Price is $65 per person for the meal, which includes tax and gratuity OR $75 includes meal and wine pairing, tax and gratuity. Seating is limited to seating times. See packages for details.


Thursday, September 28th, Friday, September 29th, and Saturday, September 30th with half hour seatings from 6 PM to 8 PM. Limit 12 per seating and tables no larger than six (6). Larger parties will be split. Parties over six please contact Nassau County Volunteer Center at 904-261-2771. Tickets are nonrefundable.

Try out the most delicious eats at the Best of Burlingame. Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Menu will be 5 courses for $90 inclusive of tax and gratuity. Guests can add an optional wine pairing for a total of $110 inclusive of tax and gratuity. Table sizes are up to 6 persons only (no larger tables). Seating is limited to seating times. See packages for details.

Gilbert's Underground Kitchen

Friday, September 29th from 6 PM to 9 PM. Capacity at 62. Tickets are nonrefundable.

Join Celebrity Chef Kenny Gilbert for an evening of Smokey Goodness. " A Meat Lovers Affair", kicks off Taste of Amelia Island Weekend at Gilbert's Underground Kitchen, Friday, September 29, 2017, from 6 to 9 PM. Chef will be preparing an amazing 3 Course Family Meal for you to enjoy paired with house hand crafted Sangrias and Craft Local Beers. Tickets are $100 per person and include tax and gratuity.

First Course

Pickled Local Shrimp | Succotash| Lemon Dressing| Dill

Baby Gem Salad | Blackberries| Fennel | Peppers | Ginger Lime Dressing

Pimento Cheese Wontons | Alabama White BBQ Sauce

Second Course

Whole Smoked Alligator | Sc BBQ Sauce

Whole Smoked Pig | FL Citrus Mop

Smoked Beef Brisket | Tomato Molasses BBQ Sauce | Shaved Onion

Duck Andouille Sausage Sliders | Pickled Pineapple | Half and Half BBQ Sauce

Smoked Guinea Hens | Berebere BBQ Sauce


Shishito Peppers

Carlotta's Macaroni Salad

Shrimp Perlot

Coconut Curry Collard Greens

Cheese Grits

Cucumbers and Tomatoes

Jalapeño Cheddar Drop Biscuits

Dessert Course

Assorted Warm Cookies |Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin White Chocolate

Vanilla Ice Cream

Seating is limited. See packages for details.

White Oak Conservation

Join us for Winos for Rhinos! Because who doesn’t love rhinos? And wine.

The event includes a tour of our new and expanding rhino facilities where you will meet our rhinos, and their caretakers to learn about the conservation breeding programs here at White Oak. Guests will have the rare opportunity to see rhino calves!

During your stops at the different areas, we will provide a refreshing beverage that our wine stewards will describe to you while you enjoy hors d’oeuvres from White Oak’s culinary staff. The menu will be inspired by the culinary traditions of the native habitats of the rhinos (South African and Northern India/Nepal) with wines selected specifically to compliment the tastings. Our chefs will use the freshest, local and sustainable ingredients, including items from the White Oak gardens.

We will finish the tour at Gilman Hall where you will enjoy a gourmet dinner and have the opportunity to recount the evening with your new friends!

Cost: $200 per person plus tax. Includes all food, wine and beer.

Friday, September 29th, from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Tour starts at 5 – guests should arrive at 4:30.

Dinner at 7:30

Depart by 8:30

Amelia Tavern

Friday, September 29, 2017

6 p.m. ; one limited seating for 20


Join one of the island’s favorite local spots for a 3 course tasting, southern American fusion cuisine complemented by a beer pairing with each course

$45 per person includes tax and gratuity

Taste of Amelia Island Gala

Some of this year's participants...

Chef Bill Thompson, Amelia Island Culinary Academy - Live Chef Demo

~ Cocktail Hour ~

Join Chef Bill of the Amelia Island Culinary Academy for a lively, interactive cooking class. Watch his demonstration of handmade Lavosh topped with locally sourced ingredients for Muhammara Dip.

Chef Bill Thompson loves to cook and has fun when he’s cooking. His entertaining cooking classes will demonstrate basic and advanced culinary skills, increase student’s self-confidence, and make you laugh! After receiving his Culinary Arts degree from Johnson & Wales University, Chef Thompson worked in small independent restaurants in foodie city Charleston, South Carolina before joining the Ritz-Carlton culinary team. Since 2008, Chef Thompson has been training future professional chefs. He opened The Amelia Island Culinary Academy in 2014, and recently opened Island Biscuits, a Southern Artisan Bakery

29 South

Chef Jose Salome made his mark in Atlanta working for some of the city’s most celebrated chefs. From Gary Mennie at Canoe to Kevin Rathbun at Buckhead Diner, he built his career in the kitchens that helped shape Atlanta’s dining scene over the past decade. Additionally, Chef Jose worked under Adam Evans, opening The Optimist, which was listed as one of Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants in American in 2013, as well as having cooked for the prestigious James Beard House as part of the American Express Celebrity Chef’s Tour. The tour featured James Beard House dinners in major cities outside of New York. Specifically, Chef Jose cooked with Chef Scott Schwartz for the Atlanta dinner.

Before moving to Amelia Island, Chef Jose was the chef de cuisine at Valenza in Atlanta.

During his tenor in Atlanta, Chef Jose served as Chef Scott Schwartz’s executive sous chef at the Buckhead Club. He moved to Amelia Island in 2015 to join Chef Schwartz and lead the team at his award-winning restaurant 29 South. Chef Salome is quickly making a name for himself in Northeast Florida with his innovative cuisine, beautiful styling and warm spirit.

Gibert's Underground Kitchen

Throughout his career, Kenny has traveled the world, staging in some of the top restaurants in Japan, Spain, France and the Caribbean. He has cooked at the James Beard House, participated in wine & food festivals around the country, cooked for the Sports Illustrated Super Bowl party and appeared on the “Today Show,” Jacksonville’s FOX 30 and in the LA Times. Kenny has also recently penned his first book titled, A Chef’s Journal. He has cooked for the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, Stedman Graham, Samuel L. Jackson and A.J Calloway, just to name a few. Kenny has competed on and won Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” and beat Chef Bobby Flay at his own game on “Beat Bobby Flay.”

With over 20 years of professional experience in the food & beverage industry, Kenny has run just about every area of Food & Beverage Divisions at the AAA Five Diamond and Mobile Five Star levels. His passion for fine dining is complemented by his vast experience across the entire spectrum of the culinary industry. From banquets to pastries, club and restaurant design to bar and lounge concepts, Kenny’s innovative and creative approach to the restaurant and hospitality industries is unmatched.


Image result for chad livingston burlingameChef Chad Livingston grew up in Fernandina Beach and participated in the Fernandina Beach High School Culinary Program. After graduation, he attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where he received his Culinary Arts degree.

After graduating from culinary school, Chef Chad ventured to Denver, Colorado, where he refined his skills at Fruition Restaurant and Venue Restaurant. A desire to return to his roots in Fernandina Beach prompted Chef Chad to move back home to Florida where he accepted a position at Salt Restaurant, a AAA Five Diamond establishment at The Ritz-Carlton of Amelia Island, before joining Deb & Eric Fanelli to develop Burlingame Restaurant.

Chef Chad competed in the inaugural Great Chef’s of Amelia Island fundraising event. He prides himself on preparing classic dishes with a twist using fresh and sustainable ingredients. Focusing on a season-inspired menu, everything at Burlingame is prepared in-house and from scratch.

The Surf

Chef Joey Peter Chef Joey is New Orleans Born and Trined. In addition to traveling around Europe, he has lived and worked in Boston, Philly, New York and Baltimore. Chef Joey has been in the restaurant industry all his life beginning his career at the early age of 8 years old, sweeping out the family deli for a quarter a day.

Some sample Chef Joey’s Crab Fluff with Tiki Sauce. Crab cake lightly dipped in a eastern shore batter then deep fried. Served with The Surf signature Tiki sauce.


For more than 7 years, Peterbrooke Amelia Island has captured the appetites and the imaginations of chocolate lovers from many states in our country. When you walk into Peterbrooke Amelia, the first thing you notice is the unbelievable Chocolate aroma. It instantly takes you on a journey back to your childhood when everything was a little bit simpler and sweeter.

Look around for a moment, and you can’t help but be drawn in by the bright, seasonal decorations that are, quite literally, eye candy.

Our products feature chocolate covered popcorn, chocolate covered Nutter Butters, chocolate covered Oreos and chocolate covered pretzels.

Ahan Thai

Wilasinee Woodard, known to locals as “Sinee", was born and raised in Northeast Thailand by her lovely Thai family. 10 years ago, Sinee came to Pensacola, Florida with a student travel program, where she met her husband, Josh. Josh is active duty Military (Navy), which is what brought them to Jacksonville from Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

Sinee and Josh opened Ahan Thai Kitchen in 2014, with a focus on quality ingredients and traditional Thai recipes, avoiding any fusion style at all costs. Most dishes were passed down from Sinee’s grandmother, and some she developed while attending cooking school in Bangkok, Thailand. Ahan Tahi also offers the finest selection of Craft Beer in Nassau County, with over 60 bottles and cans from which to choose. Sinee’s brother, Paweewat, is the Sioux Chef, complimented by his wife, Pikun, who is their Prep Cook and Server.

In addition to operating Ahan Thai Restaurant, Sinee and Josh are proud parents of a wonderful three year old Son, Ethan.

Over two years after their grand opening, Sinee says they have found a great customer base, not only with local Nassau County residents, but the many out-of-state visitors who enjoy authentic, traditional Thai Food.



We are located in Fernandina Beach, a quaint Victorian seaside town about 10 miles from the Florida/Georgia border and 20 minutes from North Jacksonville. Our restaraunt is located within a charming historic district with several Bed & Breakfast Inns, shopping, antique stores, lively historic taverns and much more.

We have over 20 years restaurant experience in both culinary arts and management. Our paellas are prepared in traditional imported paella pans from Spain. We take great pride in our recipe, taking our travels to Spain and bringing those flavors to your table. We utilize only the freshest fish, shellfish, herbs (some grown on premises) and spices for our paellas.

Other menu highlights include varied hot and cold tapas, steaks, and homemade desserts. Accompany your meal with a fine wine from our Select Wine List or try our homemade sangria.

David's Restaurant and Lounge

At David’s Restaurant, only the finest seafood and meats are served in Amelia Island. Their mouthwatering menu features a wide selections of delicious entrees.

Open Daily 7 days a week. Our Bar/Lounge opens at 5pm and the dining room opens at 6pm. You can call our reservation desk at 904-310-6049 for complete reservation availability.

David’s has two event areas available for your next gathering. Our private wine room is perfect for intimate gatherings and will accommodate up to 12 guests. For a larger gathering such as a wedding reception, rehearsal dinner or corporate meeting, our smaller private dining room will accommodate up to 50 guests.


La Mancha Restaurant is a neighborhood restaurant and wine bar, where you can come and have great wine, incredible food prepared by Our Chef and his amazing team, while surrounded by friends old and new. It’s a place to come often and enjoy.

Fancy Sushi

We serve fine Japanese cuisine from our Hibachi grill, the best Tempura and the tastiest Teriyaki this side of Tokyo. We give you all the fine foods with the friendliest service you will ever have here in friendly Fernandina Beach, Fl. Come by and give us a visit and we'll serve you with smiles and the Freshest sushi that you won't find anywhere but here at Fancy Sushi.

Crab Trap

The Crab Trap restaurant has been family owned and operated for over 30 years. We are proud to offer fresh, local seafood and steaks to the Fernandina Beach, Florida community and her visitors. With the beauty of Amelia Island and our rich history, combined with our excellent food and great crew make for an unforgettable seafood dining experience! You are encouraged to visit us in Historic Downtown Fernandina Beach often and see what our kitchen has to offer. We strive to regularly update our menu offerings, while still keeping those seafood and steak staples you’ve come to know and love!

Please drop by soon, and as owner Richard “Choo Choo” Germano says, “Our reputation is only as good as the last meal served.”

See you soon!

Nana Teresa's Bake Shop

Our mission is to ensure you have the sweetest experience, so we start every creation using organic ingredients whenever possible, imported Belgian and African chocolates, European butter, and farm fresh eggs. Whether you purchase a single cupcake or a five-tier specialty cake, we know that after just one bite, you'll be coming back for more.

White Oak Conservation

Chef Bob McKeon has worked at White Oak for more than 25 years. Originally from Union County NJ, he has with a B.Sc. from FIU in Miami in Hotel Restaurant Management. Before joining White Oak as the Personal Chef to Founder Howard Gilman, Chef McKeon held culinary positions at many reputable restaurants , caterers and country clubs along the East Coast. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, he has a unique, diverse set of skills, allowing him and his team to create customized seasonal farm menus for the guests of White Oak.

Chef McKeon has integrated a philosophy of Sustainable Food into his kitchen and team, making a connection between SLOW food and environmental conservation. Chef Bob sources ingredients from the two organic gardens at White Oak, along with our neighboring farming partners, promoting healthy and sustainable dishes.

Amelia Tavern

Chef Michael Packard is a New York native who grew up in the Hudson Valley where he began his journey in the restaurant industry at the age of 14. From pot scrubber to Executive Sous Chef by the age of 21, Chef Michael honed his craft at the award winning, farm to table restaurant, The Local in Rhinebeck, New York. Chef Michael’s mentor, Chef Wesley Dier, was trained by James Beard award winning chefs including Larry Forgione, Melissa Kelly, and Tom Colicchio. Inspired to continue his culinary education, Michael attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Executive Chef at Amelia Tavern, Chef Michael is bringing New York influence to Southern classics. Chef Michael enjoys traditional food with unexpected elements, and takes pride in preparing his American and experimental dishes.

Sliders Seaside Grill/Ocean Club of Amelia

Christopher Wright was born in Macon, GA and moved to Amelia Island at the age of five. At fifteen, he was given the opportunity to work at a popular local restaurantt, The Down Under.

Working with the McCarthy family, Christopher learned the importance of customer service and proper food service. He has spent 25+ years in the food and beverage industry learning and teaching as he goes.

Christopher has extensive training in the culinary arts ranging from local mom and pops fry house style cuisine to ultra-fine dining with corporations like The Ritz Carlton. Christopher has been Chef De Cuisine at Sliders Seaside Grill for the past 18 months.

Pablo's Mexican Cuisine

Since the day we opened our doors, Pablo's Mexican Cuisine has offered an authentic menu of delicious items that capture the unique flavors of Mexico to customers in the heart of Fernandina Beach. Now, we are a local favorite, recognized as a must-stop for the best traditional and fusion food around. Find out for yourself what sets Pablo's Mexican Cuisine in a league of our own!

Enjoy Mexican-style food in a friendly and fun atmosphere. Pablo's offers Shrimp a la Diabla, Seafood Fajitas, and Fish Tacos and much more, served indoors or our open-air courtyard.

Omni Amelia Island Plantation Culinary Team

Chef DavenOmni Hotels & ResortsExecutive Chef Daven Wardynski has led the culinary team at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort since October 2012. He is the inspiration and mastermind behind The Sprouting Project as well as overseeing nine restaurants, and all conference food and beverage operations. With more than 17 years of experience in the culinary world, Wardynski began his career at the legendary TRU in Chicago, serving as sous chef under celebrity chef Rick Tramonto. Prior to accepting the position at Omni Amelia Island, he was the executive chef at Omni Chicago Hotel for a number of years. Due to his emphasis on supporting local purveyors and his passion for fresh, high quality ingredients, Chef Wardynski has received multiple honors from the American Culinary Federation, including a Gold Medal in the Chicago National Restaurant show along with coverage in such media outlets as Oprah Radio, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Cooking Light, and Food & Wine.

Sandbar and Kitchen

Chef Susan Burdian is a native New Yorker and a graduae of the Natural Gourmet Institute. Over the past decade, she has cooked all over the New York metro area, learning and absorbing the nuances of diverse cuisines such as Southeast Asian, French, rustic Italian, Mexican barbecue, Filipino and vegan/vegetarian.

In 2010, she opened Zuzies, a well-received pop-up kitchen in Astoria, Queens. This venture allowed her to cement a unique cooking personality, which she describes as American Classics – meets – American Melting Pot.

In 2017, Burdian set her sights on a change of scenery and moved south to Amelia Island, Florida, where she accepted the lead at The Sandbar & Kitchen. The Sandbar & Kitchen is a 300-seat restaurant right on Main Beach, literally 100 feet from the water, where she is developing an entirely new & original menu reflecting the local cuisine & seasonal product executed with her eclectic touches and soulful style.

Chef Susan participates frequently in charity events, such as NYC's Iron Skillet Cook-off benefitting Firefighters and emergency responders, as well as one of Anthony Bourdain's pet charities, The UA Bronx Academy Of Letters Chef Tasting, and most recently the Adam Straub Memorial Golf Tournament for Organ Donor Procurement at Amelia National Golf Course.


Salt Life Food Shack

Executive Chef Jason Smith C.C.C

Executive Chef at Salt life food shack since 2011, Chef Smith believes in the philosophy that if you get, you give in life. He teaches this and lives this in his work life and his life outside of the restaurant.

Chef Smith has been a teacher at FCTC teaching and inspiring young culinarians. He has also served his country in the United States Navy where he first got his start in his culinary career while seeing the world and experiencing all of its wonderful foods.

He has been on local morning shows displaying his talent and he is also in the cook book, Greater Chefs of the First Coast. He has also been involved in many charities including the J fund, Ellie and the Jacksonville Humane Society.

Outside of creating culinary masterpieces, he enjoys spending time boxing and taking care of his cats.

Hotel Deals

Hotel Name: Amelia Hotel at the Beach

Address: 1997 S Fletcher Ave. Amelia Island, FL 32034

Phone number: (904) 206-5600

Website: www.ameliahotel.com

Amelia Hotel at the Beach is located across the street from the beach and minutes to historic Downtown Fernandina Beach. We offer a variety of guest rooms including balcony rooms and rooms with ocean views. A broad range of services and amenities are included to make your stay exceptional. Amelia is calling you!

Stay 3 nights and get 15% off (Must stay Friday 9/29, Saturday 9/30 and Sunday 10/1)

Based on availability, some restrictions may apply.



HImage result for residence inn amelia islandotel Name: Residence Inn Amelia Island

Start date: 9/28/17

End date: 10/2/17

Last day to book: 8/28/17

• Residence Inn Amelia Island for 159.00 USD per night 20% discount

Book your group rate for Taste of Amelia Island

Thank you to our sponsors!

Venue Information

39 Beach Lagoon Road
Amelia Island, FL
(904) 261-6161
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Organizer Information

Nassau County Volunteer Center

910 S. 8th Street, Suite 204
Fernandina Beach, FL,
(904) 261-2771

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