Backlit by the commanding city views atop the Metreon center, the SF State hospitality and tourism management department hosted the 19th annual Taste of the Bay fundraiser for a night of local wine, food and charity.
The student-run event brought alumni, students and industry professionals together for charity Wednesday night. The money raised was committed to providing students in the hospitality and tourism management department with scholarships and a dynamic culinary curriculum during their time at SF State.
One of this year’s co-chairs, Kelsey Tulloch, said she stumbled into the industry by chance and fell in love.
“I knew I always wanted to work with people,” Tulloch said. “I tried the usual people-person jobs like doctor, psychiatrist, and then I saw hospitality and was like – that’s it!”
Last year’s event hosted 450 guests and raised $140,605.
“We’re hoping to break that number this year,” Tulloch said.
In total, 19 restaurants, five breweries and 15 wineries participated in this year’s Taste of the Bay event.
With so many high-end chefs in one place, the ceilings of the Metreon filled with aromatic delights while guests bid on auction items with a paddle in one hand and a glass in the other.
For the past 15 years, hospitality and tourism management department advisor Karen Kaupke, has watched as Taste of the Bay has blossomed from a small campus event into a launch pad for students.
“We continuously develop phenomenal student superstars who then go into the industry and do great things,” Kaupke said.
In her first year at SF State and as a volunteer, hospitality and tourism mangement major Angelica Bautista said she was stunned by the professionalism and sheer size of the event.
“This is my first year volunteering; there’s so much more than I expected,” Bautista said.
Every year, sponsors provide Taste of the Bay with auction items. This year saw a three-night stay in and round-trip airfare to Istanbul, dining for 10 in SF State’s Vista Room and a signed Warriors hat from 2015 NBA finals MVP Andre Iguodala.
Besides raising money, students gain practical skills that come in handy after graduation, according to Tulloch.
“This has been by far the most valuable experience on my resume,” Tulloch said.
This year, Tulloch estimates that the event had more than 600 guests and estimates that the event will bring in nearly $150,000 for the department.
For Tulloch and many others, the industry is a profession outside the monotony that comes along with many traditional jobs.
“The industry is a lot of work but a lot of fun,” Tulloch said. “I can’t imagine going into a job where I don’t constantly talk to people.”