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Long-running ‘Taste of the NFL’ Super Bowl party going virtual for 2021

Celebrity chefs Andrew Zimmern and Carla Hall will anchor the livestream from Tampa.
'Top Chef' host and chef /restaurant owner Tom Colicchio signed autographs  at the 2009 Taste of the NFL event at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Taste of the NFL will go virtual in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
'Top Chef' host and chef /restaurant owner Tom Colicchio signed autographs at the 2009 Taste of the NFL event at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Taste of the NFL will go virtual in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. [ SCOTT KEELER | St. Petersburg Times ]
Published Jan. 5

One of the NFL’s longest-running Super Bowl events is going virtual for 2021.

Taste of the NFL, a charity food event featuring chefs and players from each NFL city, will not take place in person during Super Bowl LV week in Tampa this February. Instead, “Taste of the NFL@Home” will take place on Super Bowl Sunday with celebrity chefs like Andrew Zimmern, Carla Hall and Tim Love preparing game day tailgate eats live from a stage outside Raymond James Stadium.

Tickets go on sale Wednesday for the livestreamed event, which promises appearances by players and celebrities, and will benefit GENYOUth, a charity that fights food insecurity in schools by sending children emergency meals. The $100 price includes access to recipes for a tailgate menu created for the event. The first 5,000 ticket purchasers will also receive a free goodie box from Pepsi and Frito Lay.

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“We don’t see this as a Plan B. This was Plan A for us,” aid GENYOUth CEO Alexis Glick. “We sat down with our partners at the NFL, with our partners at PepsiCo., and crafted this model with the thought process of, let’s create a moment in time where we can celebrate this great game-day experience together with some of the country’s incredible, fun chefs, who will do these spectacular game-day recipes, and bring the experience home to the fans.”

Dubbed the league’s “Party with a Purpose,” Taste of the NFL has been around since 1992, and has taken place twice in Tampa.

In 2001, it was held at the Tampa Convention Center, with 3,000 partiers paying $400 apiece, or $6,000 per table to sample nibbles like chipotle-barbecued buffalo and tangerine creme brulee. Guests included Miss America Angela Perez Baraquio and country singer Wynonna Judd. The event raised more than $250,000 for Divine Providence Food Bank in Tampa.

In 2009, Taste of the NFL took place at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, with guests including Michael Keaton, Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry, Tom Colicchio and Roger Staubach gathering to sample fine bites and watch headliners the Max Weinberg 7 in a preview of the drummer’s Super Bowl halftime gig with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

Related: As Tampa's Super Bowl nears, party buzz is muted

Moving away from the exclusivity of past Taste of the NFL events should make this year’s event feel more inclusive, Glick said.

“It’s a reimagined, interactive format that we believe will make it even bigger than it’s ever been in the history of the Taste of the NFL,” she said. “I have been blown away by the degree of folks who want to be a part of it, and why they want to be a part of it.”

Sign up for Taste of the NFL at tasteofthenfl.com.