Taste of the NFL

Although the Bears won't be heading to Detroit this year to participate in Super Bowl XL, a former member of the team will be playing a prominent role in one of the weekend's most popular preliminary events, Taste of the NFL.

Taste of the NFL was first held on Super Bowl eve back in 1992 when Minneapolis was the host city. Billed as "The Party with a Purpose," the evening hoped to raise awareness and dollars in the fight against hunger.

Quickly exceeding all expectations, the Taste of the NFL proved to be one of the most sought after tickets of Super Bowl weekend. Now in it's second decade, the annual evening which pairs the nation's finest chefs with NFL legends, has become a fundraising mainstay for America's Second Harvest, an organization specializing in providing food to families in need.

Chicago's representatives are Ronnie Bull of the 1963 Championship team and Susan Goss, executive chef of West Town Tavern. Both Bull and Goss have been active in the event for 12 years.

"It's our way of giving back," Bull said. "Representatives from every NFL team come to the Super Bowl host city. Each of us, along with our hometown culinary expert, prepares a special dish that patrons will be able to enjoy. There are also meet and greet opportunities with NFL players and a silent auction with a grand prize of an all-expense paid trip to next year's Super Bowl in Miami."

For Bull and Goss, Super Bowl weekend has come to mean much more than football.

"When I first started participating, I wasn't sure what to expect, but it's become something I look forward to each year," Bull said. "It's our way to giving back to the towns in which we played. You'll see players returning time after time because they get so much enjoyment out of it. We've become one big extended NFL and gastronomic family."

This year, Goss will prepare Bruschetta with Braised White Beans, Wild Arugula, Shaved Parmesan and White Truffle Oil, a specialty featured at her restaurant.

"Whatever Susan prepares is wonderful," Bull said. "I'm sure that every player says the same about his home city's chef. You're not going to find an event anywhere with better cuisine. It's not at all surprising that this event sells out year after year."

This year's Taste of the NFL will be held on Feb. 4 at the Rock Showplace in Novi, Michigan. Dinner will be from 7:00-9:30 pm with entertainment to follow at 9:45. For further information, call The Loop Group at 952-835-7621.

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