Taste of the NFL Founder Wayne Kostroski Biography
Wayne Kostroski, 2010 James Beard Humanitarian of the Year, is founder of the Taste of the NFL, a non-profit organization that raises awareness and dollars for hunger relief. Now entering its 24th year, the Taste of the NFL has distributed more than $15 million for local and national food banks across America.
Kostroski founded the Taste of the NFL in 1992 while serving as chair of the Restaurant Committee for the Super Bowl XXVI Task Force. He created the TNFL’s first “Party with a Purpose®” that has since become a coveted event of Super Bowl weekend. On the eve of Super Bowl Sunday, 32 of the nation’s best chefs (one from each NFL city) and a current or alumni player from each NFL team come together for a night of food, fun and football. All event proceeds support local and national hunger organizations.
A well-known Twin Cities’ restaurateur, Kostroski is co-owner of Cuisine Concepts, which includes Bar Abilene and Franklin Street Bakery in Minneapolis. His entrée into the food and hospitality industry began in the late 1970s. A professional musician at the time, he was lured into the restaurant business as the beverage and entertainment manager for the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and the St. James hotel in Red Wing, Minn. Since then he has played an instrumental role at several of the Twin Cities’ premier dining establishments, including Figlio’s, Tejas and Goodfellow’s.
Affiliations and Associations
Kostroski has served in many board positions, which include:
- Board of directors for Share Our Strength (SOS), a national organization of chefs and restaurateurs that support regional, national and international hunger relief agencies.
- National board of the End Hunger Network, which was founded in 1983 by Jeff Bridges.
- Chaired the Minnesota Taste of the Nation, which raised more than $1 million for hunger relief in the initial 10 years.
- Member of the board for the Second Harvest St. Paul Food Bank.
- Board of directors of the 50th & France Business Association in Edina, Minn.
- Past chair of the Edina Chamber of Commerce in Edina, Minn.
Awards and Recognitions
For his successes, industry involvement and dedication to the community, Kostroski has received local and national recognition. These honors include:
- 2010 James Beard Humanitarian of the Year
- National Distinguished Service Award by Foodchain, a network of hunger relief programs
- The “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in the Socially Responsible category from Ernst & Young
- America’s Second Harvest Hunger’s Hope Award
- The Pope John XXIII Humanitarian Award from Viterbo University, La Crosse, Wis.
- The Vanguard Award from Hospitality Magazine
- Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Club Award for outstanding community service
- The “Cornerstone Humanitarian of the Year” award from the National Restaurant Association
- Mpls. St. Paul Magazine named Kostroski “Restaurateur of the Year”
Kostroski resides in Edina, Minn. with his wife Eda. He has two daughters, Lya and Judith, and a son, Peter.
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