A perennial Fair favorite, the Great American SPAM® Championship Thursday, Sept. 24 at the L.A. County Fair’s Culinary Styles Kitchen, presented by Sparkletts Water Company, attracted a crowd of creative chefs and curious onlookers, eager to see the latest SPAMSATIONAL™ easy main dishes using at least one 12-ounce can of Classic, Lite, Oven Roasted Turkey, Less Sodium, Hot & Spicy or other variety of SPAM®. Chefs were limited to 10 or fewer ingredients in their recipes, which were judged on taste (45%), ease of preparation (30%) and presentation (25%) in two divisions: Kid Chef (ages 7 to 17) and adult.
The competition was fierce, with seasoned chefs and newcomers vying for top honors. While the judges conferred, SPAM® representatives treated Fairguests to free grilled SPAM® cheeseburgers and SPAM® beach balls and banks.
The first-place winner in the Kid Chef division was Connor Sitz of Covin, who won over the judges with a Chinese noodle SPAM® hot dish. Asked by Chef George Geary, Culinary Styles coordinator, where one would find the crispy noodles he used for topping, Sitz replied, “Aisle 9.” Taking second place with herbed SPAM® puffs was Avery Moloian of Thousand Oaks. SPAM® creativity runs strong in the Sitz family of Covina. Connor’s brother, Bryce, won third prize in the kid chef division with a SPAMble biscuit bake.
Placing first in the Great American SPAM® Championship, adult division, was first-time entrant Carolyn Ganzen of Rancho Cucamonga with low-sodium SPAM®-stuffed cabbage rolls. Second place winner John Joins of La Verne, also a first-timer, made low-sodium SPAM® enchiladas. Kathleen Cable of Chino won third prize with spicy SPAMALICIOUS™ tacos.
First-, second- and third-place winners in both divisions of the Great American SPAM® Championship won $150, $50 and $25, respectively, along with ribbons, aprons and T-shirts. First-place winners in both divisions advance to the National Grand SPAM® Championship. The winner in the adult division is eligible to win the National SPAM® Champion adult grand prize, a trip to the 2010 Waikiki SPAM JAM® event in Hawaii valued at $3,000. The winner in the Kid Chef division is eligible to win the national SPAM® Kid Chef of the Year Grand Prize of $2,000.
The L.A. County Fair continues through Sunday, Oct. 4, closed Monday and Tuesday. For more information, visit lacountyfair.com.