Friday, September 29, 2023

A Zest for Charity

Local Chefs raising funds

Zest Toledo, so much more than a tasting, is an event to raise money to assist area charities dealing with hunger — the Aurora Project, Toledo Day Nursery, Toledo GROWS and the Toledo Northwest Ohio Food Bank all receive grants from Zest. Last year’s event raised $96,000 for the charities. 100% of the money stays local.

“The finest food and wine event, period — but for a purpose,” said Gus Mancy, partner in the Mancy Restaurant Group and member of Zest Toledo’s Steering Committee, adding, “And really, our purpose remains focused around hunger relief.” Shannon Hoelle, event ticket sales coordinator adds, “It is a non-profit event where we raise funds to embrace, empower and educate homeless women and children, to secure their next meal, grow their own food and get back on their feet.”


A new adventure

This is the second year for Zest Toledo, an independent local event. For decades the organizers held a similar event with the moniker Taste of the Nation. Last year’s event, the first one which distributed 100% of the proceeds locally, was held at the Renaissance Hotel. The organizers were thrilled with the money raised with this new version as Toledoans came together to support Zest, with the new name.

“It was a new adventure, a little bit of untraveled ground,” Hoelle said. “And we decided that we had the skills and talent to keep this group of people together and support the agencies and organizations that we supported in the past. And we still rallied the support of the community. It was a great feeling.”

Zest maintains the formal flair attendees have come to expect and also includes of a big post-party at Fleetwood’s Tap Room from 8 pm until 10:30, featuring live music and a raffle.


Bigger and better

“People really do dress up for this event,” Mancy said. “We have valet parking, a red carpet entry, 25 of the best local chefs, the best wine purveyors, live entertainment. It’s a nice evening. We’re excited, because we think the event is definitely bigger and better, again, than last year. We are partnering with Hensville and Fleetwood’s. It’s totally the hip area to see and be seen.”

The focus remains on raising money for those in need. “These local chefs, come together for one evening and for one cause — to raise money to give back to our community,” Mancy said.

Tickets for Zest Toledo cost $225 if booked after April 2. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit:

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