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Fore Street Owner: Taste of the Nation Publicizes 'Appalling' Hunger Issues in US

Sam Hayward outlines serious and fun reasons he participates in the annual event.

Fore Street's kitchen in Portland.
Fore Street's kitchen in Portland.
Corey Templeton

With the annual Taste of the Nation extravaganza this Sunday, June 28 — whose restaurant list always reads like a who's who of industry movers and shakers — Eater spoke with chef Sam Hayward, chef-partner of Fore Street, about the restaurateur's perspective on such an event.

Hayward didn't mince words discussing what he sees as a failure of Americans. "It's appalling that the wealthiest and most able country on earth exhibits such a brutally enduring refusal to meet basic nutritional needs of its citizens — especially its children," Hayward insisted. He said publicizing this issue, and charity Share Our Strength's mission to end hunger in the US, is the most satisfying part of participating in Taste of the Nation. Share Our Strength is connected to Cooking Matters, which hosts the Chopped Challenge.

An "away gig" like this one at Fort Williams Park is a challenge, Hayward said, as dishes must require "absolutely minimal equipment on-site" yet represent Fore Street's "devotion to local, fresh, seasonal, and organic foods, and our insistence on well seasoned, full-flavored preparations."

With that in mind, chef de cuisine Nathan Nadeau and sous chef Chris Gassi are offering three grilled items Sunday: Maine chicken heart skewers with Sherry-pickled ramps; duck offal sausages with black onion relish and Funky Bow beer mustard; and Maine lamb belly with sumac and boiled cider-beet glaze. Chefs are excited, too: "There's usually a steady circling of white-coats from the various stations swapping menu items and meeting and greeting each other. It's a great party for the diners and the restaurants," Hayward noted.

General admission (5 to 8 p.m.) and VIP tickets (4 to 8 p.m.) are still available online for the event, along with a full list of restaurants involved.

Fore Street

288 Fore Street , Portland, ME 04101 (207) 775-2717