Taste of Tyler Garden Party


The “Man” always goes to the Annual Taste of Tyler Party.  It goes back to the leadership days of Danny Case and Jerry Bower and continues “even unto this hour” with Bob Westbrook and Roger Lumley.  These good men have taken good care of me…and this year was no exception.

The Taste of Tyler throws its big bash each spring at Harvey Convention Center and it is always a hoot!  More good food than ought to be legal, a huge array of beers, wines, and cool drinks, great music in a festive atmosphere and a first class culinary competition of our local high school students, which is judged by professional chefs.

This year 36 restaurants participated to provide a taste of their finest cuisine.  It is a whale of a bargain in that for a meager $25 ticket you sample the best of the best all night long without paying full price.  Figure it out:  $25 divided by 36 restaurants is about .69 a sample…and these are big samples, my friends.  And guess what, all of the beers and wine are free using that formula.  I’m a-tellin’ you, for about the price of two uncooked 8oz. choice fillets of beef tenderloin, you can eat and drink fine fare with super entertainment for three hours.

But, there is a deeper and more meaningful motive behind this party of all parties.  This citywide event raises money, through ticket sales, to support ProStart, a high school culinary education program across Northeast Texas.  The program provides students with opportunities to learn the art of cooking and managing restaurants through a classroom environment.  It, also, creates pathways to earning college credits while still attending high school.

So, the highlight of the event is a well-orchestrated high school culinary competition expertly operated under the Texas Chefs Association Rules of Competition.  Each team of two students was given a protein, which was pork shoulder; a budget of $14 and must prepare a meal for four which must be completed in one hour (students choose the sides).  They are graded on 1) best presentation of the protein and sides 2) most creative plating and 3) flavor.  These kids hit it out of the park.

The high school student teams were from the ProStart Programs at Chapel Hill, Tyler ISD Career Technical Education Center, Lindale ISD, and Whitehouse ISD.  The 1st place winner was Chapel Hill with a $300 prize to their program.  The 2nd place winner was Tyler ISD-CTE for a prize of $200 to their program.  The remaining three teams received $100 each for their school’s program.

This outstanding ProStart Program is based on a curriculum prepared and approved by the Texas Restaurant Association, National Restaurant Association and the American Chefs Association.  It is college level work adapted to high school students.  These students get first class training and do first class work, as all five of the teams demonstrated in this competition. 

 The “Man’s” dear friend, Shelbie Glover, Executive Director of the Lindale Area Chamber of Commerce, won the four free tickets to the Taste from the BSCENE Magazine contest.  So, she and three of her friends along with, BSCENE’s Tara Johnson and Bryan Stewart, were my party.  Wow, what a party we had eating and drinking and drinking and eating throughout the night.  Our rest spots were enjoying the music of Faber and Friends and the TJC Jazz Ensemble and both were fantastic.  When he was not “tending to business” my buddy, Bob Westbrook, tagged along and kept the party lively.

Well now, hope you get the picture.  The Taste of Tyler is an annual “not to miss event” to add to your “must do for fun and a good cause” list every year.

So, if you’re out and about, look for us, we’ll be about town.


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