Friday, July 23, 2010

OC Fair Culinary News

Yep, I've been gone from blog land for a good reason, and work on a book has come to a screeching halt. What I have been preparing for is the 120th OC Fair AKA Orange County Fair. This has been both a ton of work, and a ton of fun!

This year I am coordinating the culinary exhibit which involves food competitions, demonstrations on stage, featured food artists, Table designs competitions, contests a gillion other things!  I have to share some highlights to date;

With only 2 weeks to set up our area in the Exhibit Promenade, on July 14 we received the first show foods and table designs. The entries proved once again, that our community can cook and design like no other! Judging took place an hour after the food arrived to be as fresh as possible. 10 professional judges took 3 hours to taste, evaluate, and determine winners. All total, up to 30, judges, clerks and exhibit department staff spent from 6:30AM until 10:00 PM working on their part of the organization, competition and presentation of the show.

"The Concessionaires Cup" a contest for best fair food was held on July 17. Judges, Cathy Thomas from OC Regester, Tara Hernandez writer of a popular family blog, and Sharon Reiher professional food judge picked their favorites among those who entered.

New this year is new categories for shaped bread, colossal cakes, professional cake decorating and professional tablescapes.

Also new this year, The culinary and table designs competition are part of the "Artful Fare" an exhibit in the new Promenade, that features "food as art."Other exhibit features are food sculpting by Jim Victor and Marie Pelton who are working in butter, cheese and chocolate. Bread sculptures by San Diego area food artist, Bruno Albouze are displayed. Beverly's Best Bakery in Brea and Shalie's Edible are other featured artists.

The now famous "Ice Museum" by Carving Ice, filled with sculpted art works in ice is a favorite part of the exhibit for fair goers. The "Artful Fare" features a 20 foot long and 8 foot high image of Julia Child's Kitchen and a culinary herb garden.

On stage audiences have enjoyed demonstrations, by the Outdoor Cook, Gary House, Ciao Florentina, Top Class Pizza and OC Fair Chef Louise Mellor. Fun contests include the popular pie eating contest by Knott's Berry Farm, Foodie Vs. Fair Contest and Kitchen Olympics.

More to come as we look forward to Special Contests this weekend, "Art of The Tart" July 24 and "Hot, Hot, Hot, Chili, Wings and Salsa Competition July 25.

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