John Lee Gathers Garden State Greats For Charity

March 13, 2017 West Orange, NJ - 'Twas the night before winter storm Stella and all across the state, vendors, sponsors and the staff at the historic Manor did anxiously await. But, not for long as the doors of Taste of Montclair 2017 opened, patrons filled the rooms with desirous palates and gracious wallets. For the past several years, Taste of Montclair drives Montclair Rotary's largest fund-raising efforts under the direction of John Lee. Lee, journalist culinary raconteur and philanthropist has consistently supported rotary efforts; Taste being the pinnacle. His relationships with local eateries all over the state, combined with his desire to serve the community makes for a wonderful evening that gives small businesses a great platform share their culinary delight with guests who's ticket fee goes to local charity.

Returning, Kimmy's Kakes, of West Orange, dazzled with her confections including Jameson ganache filled mini-cupcakes; "cuppies", and a Budweiser cake design that disappeared before the end of the night. Stuffed Grass-Fed burgers always raises the taste bar with 100% grass fed burgers cooked to perfection. A Best of Essex winner, Stuffed recently featured a French Toast Burger. If your mouth isn't watering, you may want to check your pulse.

Vital Dining and new to the line up, The Blooming Oven, shared their flavorfully good for you fare, while Claremont Distillery poured award-winning libations in festive St. Patricks Day green. Fresh from Centric TV's Queen Boss Kim Osterhoudt was jammin her amazing jams paired with Bonbutters exceptionally good nut butters and alongside of her the culinary and musical stylings of South Orange Chef Jesse Jones, serving and singing ultimately sharing his gift.

Sponsor Vendor Tracey Diamond Designs again helped promote the event with her talent to bring brands visual presence. IF you missed the signature Gelotti carts you missed out. Long time friend of Lee, Taste and community supporter Mike Guerriero stocked them with signature gelato flavors that topped of the evening in the sweetest of ways.

Some new faces left lasting impressions including Jola Coffee due to open in North Caldwell in the Spring, Stamma Greek Taverna of Bloomfield, adding authentic Greek cuisine to the table, The Guac Spot of Little Falls, and Steep For The Trees, of Nutley, expanded Taste's reach brought in by John Lee. For a complete list of vendors and sponsors visit Taste of Montclair on Facebook The entire event was captured beautifully by Anthony Torres who donates his creativity and shares all over the place. Visit his pages for more great views from Taste 2017.

As the event drew to a close, many left with full bellies and happy hearts, knowing all the efforts of the evening were donated to charity. Special thanks to John Lee, who at the time of publication has completed his role with the Rotary Club and has moved on, but that is another story for another time.

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