GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — United Way of Mesa County will premiere the 2021 Taste of the Grand Valley film project on April 22 at 6:00pm. 

The film project, along with Ticket to Taste coupon booklets that went on sell this month, are the result of shifting the annual Home Loan Taste of the Grand Valley fundraiser to adapt to COVID-19.  “Home Loan Taste of the Grand Valley is United Way of Mesa County’s largest annual fundraising event, but, like so many other things in our lives, had to change and adapt this year” says Executive Director Zebulon Miracle.  “But make no mistake, the event is back and has been designed to not only raise funds for 27 local non-profit agencies but is also designed to help local restaurants which were hit especially hard over the last year.” 

The film is created by Colorado Mesa University students Cat Garcia and Syd Smith.  Professor Jeff Gustafson calls the project, “An ideal collaboration that allowed students to team up with an organization from the community to produce a video that takes the students’ experience to the next level.”  The film is free for the public to enjoy and can be viewed at  United Way hopes that the community can come together and enjoy the virtual event on April 22; the film will also be available for on-demand viewing after the premiere.

The documentary takes viewers inside the kitchens of Devil’s Kitchen, Hot Tomato, and Hacksteak Station to meet the skilled chefs responsible for local favorites and show their talents– with a twist. United Way surprised each kitchen with a box of locally sourced mystery ingredients and the chefs were required to use their creativity and fast-thinking to create brand new entrees. 

Ticket to Taste booklets cost $25 and contain deals to over 45 local breweries, wineries, coffee shops, restaurants and other food vendors, with proceeds going toward fighting community issues related to health, education, and self-reliance.  Both the film and the booklets are meant to show the culinary talents of our community.  “We see it as a win-win-win,” explains Miracle.  “We want the booklet and film to result in more visits to local restaurants, we want the film students to have the opportunity to work on a unique and professional-quality project, and we want to raise the funds needed to fight issues our community continues to face.”

Media is invited to a private showing of the film on April 22 at 5:30pm at Dominguez Hall Room 111 (1248 Houston Avenue) at Colorado Mesa University.

To find out more about United Way, purchase a Ticket to Taste booklet, or to watch the film, visit