When you're sampling food from the city's top restaurants, you want to savor every bite.

That was especially true at the recent Taste of the Nation HOTlist fundraiser at the Guthrie Theater. Masu, Salty Tart, La Belle Vie, Heidi's and Saffron were just a few of the top establishments doling out food and drinks to benefit Share Our Strength.

The national nonprofit agency seeks to end childhood hunger by 2015. Chef Seth Bixby Daugherty brought the organization to the Twin Cities a decade ago. Proceeds, in part, help to support another program he founded -- Cooking Matters, which offers inner-city residents cooking classes.

"The way we eat isn't a fad; it's a way of life," Daugherty said. "For many, the gift of food has been taken away."

As for the food and drink fest, Daughtery credited James Beard Award-winning chef Tim McKee for rallying the local restaurants to participate.

"It's a little weird that we do what we do -- and that people are still hungry," McKee said. "We need to give back to fight that."

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177