American Cancer Society’s Taste of Hope Benefit Scores Big at Navy Pier

Now in its ninth year, the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Taste of Hope Benefit took place on November 3rd in the AON Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. And what worthier cause? The ACS is dedicated to the eradication of cancer and has helped prevent nearly 3 million cancer deaths in the last 30 years through early detection, life-saving research and treatment, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and more. 

The event is hosted annually by the ACS Taste of Hope Executive Leadership Committee, and this year’s co-chairs were Victoria De La Huerga (President, Global Sweet Goods & Dairy, ADM) and Jeff Liljeberg (International Director, JLL).  By any standard, this year’s Taste of Hope would have been considered a success. But coming off a pandemic, the results are even more mind-boggling. Over 1,100 tickets were distributed, and more than 800 guests were in attendance that evening at Navy Pier, including local luminaries Food Dude Anthony Martorina, the Landon Twins, Telemundo head anchor Alfonso Gutierrez, and NBC-5 anchor Stefan Holt

Beautiful weather that evening made the event extra special, offering spectacular views of the city and our glorious Lake Michigan. After walking to the eastern-most tip of Navy Pier, guests checked in before entering ADM’s Hall of Honor, which memorialized men and women who fought the good fight against cancer. It was a galvanizing reminder of why we were there. In addition to Chef’s Table Title Sponsor ADM, Co-Presenting Sponsors were Kemper and The Innis Law Group, Diamond Sponsors were Quaker and Skadden, and Platinum Sponsors were AccentureKirkland & EllisPenrodPWC, and RJ O’Brien

From there, attendees entered the sparkling and revitalized AON Grand Ballroom, which was filled with generous Chicagoland restaurants and food companies offering their best dishes and cocktails for tasting. Restaurant tasting stations included AvliBeatrix (a Best of 2022 Winner – Best Breakfast/Brunch, City), Black Dog GelatoThe BristolChicago Chop House, Formento’sGene & GeorgettiThe Hampton SocialJoe’s ImportsSunda, (a Best of 2022 Winner – Best Sushi, City) TantaTAO, and Vanille Patisserie. Personal favorite dishes included Black Dog Gelato’s Apple Cheesecake Tart with Yuzu-Licorice Sorbet and Joe’s Imports’ Octopus Arancini with Chimichurri Sauce. Special thanks to Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits and Lakeshore Beverage for supplying the evening’s beverages.

Overall, the event raised $858,000, with the Paddle Raise “Text to Give” portion raising $105,000. A big turnout, and huge numbers in dollars raised as people were clearly motivated to give. Ray Young (Vice Chairman and Former CFO, ADM) was honored at the event. He shared his heartfelt personal connection to ACS and pledged $40,000 in matching gifts. It was a very special evening highlighting what’s best about our City of Big Shoulders: when it matters most, Chicago shows up.

How to Help:

The American Cancer Society “attacks cancer from every angle.” Donations help continue their work to improve the lives of people with cancer through advocacy, research, patient support and more.

More from Better:

Julie ChernoffBetter’s dining editor since its inception in 2007, graduated from Yale University with a degree in English — which she speaks fluently — and added a professional chef’s degree from the California Culinary Academy. She has worked for Boz Scaggs, Rick Bayless, and Wolfgang Puck (not all at the same time); and counts Northlight Theatre and Les Dames d’Escoffier International as two of her favorite nonprofits. She currently serves on the national board of MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, an advocacy group addressing hunger issues in the U.S. and Israel for the nearly 46 million people — veterans, children, seniors, tribal nations, and more — who go to bed hungry every night.