History behind Taste of Desoto, as recalled by Taste of Desoto Founder, John Woods.
Taste of Desoto was founded by award winning chef and caterer John Woods in 2003 with the idea to showcase local eateries, celebrate delicious dishes with friends and most importantly raise funds for local organizations that make Desoto County a better place.
Since it's inception in 2003, Taste of Desoto has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for these non-profits. 2016 Taste of Desoto beneficiaries will be The Arc and The Hope Center.
The idea for "Taste" came in 1996 by 2003, the idea ignited! John Woods along with Tom and Cindy Pittman set a date for the last Tuesday in March 2004 North Creek Golf Course was the first location of the Taste of DeSoto.
At the time, John Woods' good friend, Tim Mote, was receiving a liver transplant in Florida. This led them to select the American Liver Foundation as the first benefactor for the Taste of DeSoto in honor of Tim Mote.
They were instrumental in the growth of the Taste of DeSoto event. The first event had 15 restaurants and around 300 attendees. With continued growth, the event sees 1200 to 1500 each year.
2010 brought about change, and the committee decided to keep the money raised by the event local. Only a fraction of the money going to the American Liver Foundation in honor of Tim Mote.
Woods noticed the bonding of the people. "Food is a common denominator and can bring people together for one cause. It brings people of all nationalities together. There is a large mix of food and people simply for the love of food."