Mo Rocca To Host Innovative New Awards Program At BAM

Taste Talks, the national series of innovative food festivals, announces the first annual Taste Talks Food & Drink Awards, a national culinary awards program for a new generation of food and drink lovers focusing on culture and innovation.

Award nominee submissions open to the public today, and the winners will be announced at a live awards show hosted by Emmy winner Mo Rocca on Monday, September 26 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Howard Gilman Opera House. Live performers and presenters will be announced this summer. Watch the awards sizzle reel here:

Rocca is a correspondent on CBS Sunday Morning News with Charles Osgood and host of the network’s Emmy-winning series The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation, as well as host and creator of Cooking Channel’s My Grandmother’s Ravioli, and a frequent panelist on NPR’s weekly quiz show Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me! Rocca also spent four seasons as a correspondent on both the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and won an Emmy as a writer for the 64th Annual Tony Awards.

“The only thing I like better than eating is awards shows,” said Rocca, joking “I hope there’s an In Memoriam for all the great meals I devoured in the last year.”

Leveraging Taste Talks’ network of thought leaders and culinary luminaries—including past and present festival curators and participants such as April Bloomfield, Questlove, Dominique Ansel and more—the awards will celebrate movers and shakers from coast-to-coast, in categories ranging from best chef, restaurant and bar program to best food startup, podcast and Instagram account.

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“We’ve created a culinary awards program that is celebrating what’s inspiring the new generation of food and drink lovers,” said Awards Director Will Levitt. “We’re excited to celebrate America’s best people, places and ideas in food, with a real focus on culture, innovation and diversity.”

Taste Talks will bring creativity and fresh energy to the awards programming with a live show hosted by Rocca, featuring musical performances, engaging cooking demos, comedians, live storytelling and more. Throughout the show, industry influencers will present awards in more than 30 categories across three verticals: (1) Restaurants and Chefs, (2) Media, and (3) Innovation. Award nominees will be submitted by the public and then voted upon by an Academy comprising top tier chefs, food writers and cultural figures.

The voting Academy features top names in food and culture, including Questlove; April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig); Amanda Hesser (Food 52); Heems (Musician); Dominique Ansel (Dominique Ansel Bakery); Ken Oringer (Uni, Toro); Amanda Cohen (Dirt Candy); Michael White (Altamarea Group); Flynn McGarry (Eureka); Roble Ali (Chef); Sharon Van Etten (Singer); JJ Goode (Cookbook author); and dozens more.

Nominee submissions will be open to the public from May 18 (today) – June 20. Every Friday throughout the month, those who submit nominees will be entered to win a free pair of tickets to the live show.

To submit nominees or buy tickets visit Follow the action on social media @TasteTalks #TTawards.