Whether the ingredients are chocolate, cream cheese or chile rellenos, the culinary competitions at the L.A. County Fair attract an array of creative dishes, entered by some of the finest non-professional made-in-their-own-kitchen chefs in the area.
Cooking contests have been a popular draw at the Fair since its beginnings. But its not just pickled beets or a simple apple pie that competes for the blue ribbon. How about truffles, tortes or gazpacho?
We get a lot of great entries, said George Geary, world renowned chef who takes a break each summer to coordinate the Fairs Culinary Styles department. Our cooking contests are just as popular as ever.
Geary said the contests have not changed much over the years. Why change what works? Chocolate chip cookie contest a big hit with 32 entries. All American Pie 30 entries. However, a few contests have been added to reflect what is presented on food network shows, such as live contests.
These are big, Geary said. We give them three ingredients, they bring five of their own, and they have to cook live in front of an audience.
While American families seem constantly pressed for time, making it difficult to sit down to a dinner made completely from scratch, Geary said the desire to cook and bake is still there.
People still cook, for some it just may be on weekends, he said.
He is also noticing that many young kids are entering cooking contests. I think with few or no cooking classes in school any more, they need an outlet.
Several competitions were held during the first two weeks of the Fair, with the winners listed below. Coming up next week are the popular SPAM championship on Wednesday, Sept. 27, Live Dessert on Friday, Sept. 29, and the 24th annual barbecue contest on Saturday, Sept. 30.
George Gearys Cheesecake Recipe held Sept. 13
1. Peggy Linberg Upland Fiesta Cheesecake
2. Janine Susag Montclair Pumpkin Cheesecake
3. Jill Hoffman Chino Elaines Rich, Rich Strawberry Cheesecake &
Robin van Geest Norco Dulce de Leche Cheesecake (two third places)
Ghirardelli Chocolate Championship held Sept. 14
1. Heidi Ojeisekhoba Upland Black and White Chocolate Raspberry Torte
2. Kathy Howe Claremont Ghirardelli Chocolate Mocha Truffle Cake
3. Camille Waage San Dimas Ghirardelli English Toffee
Perfect Mexican Meal held Sept. 15
1. Kathleen Davies-Morris Chino The Davies-Morris Families Perfect Mexican Meal
2. Marilyn Cruz La Verne Chiles Rellenos de Cerdo y Mucho Mas
3. Peggy Linberg Upland Chicken Mole with Coriander Rice and Roasted Corn with Cilantro Butter
The Perfect Wedding Cake held Sept. 17
1. Cynthia Weiss San Dimas
2. Laura Palomino Chino
3. Veronica Longhi Glendale
Gingerbread House held Sept. 17
1. Kristina Marroquin Claremont
2. Susan Smith Victorville
3. Kimberly Dane Rancho Cucamonga
Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookie held Sept. 17
1. April Burton Rowland Heights Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
2. Barrie Linberg Upland Cookies without Borders
3. Pat Lapiezo La Mesa - Chocolate Chip Strawberry Fudge Blossoms
Blue Ribbon Brownie held Sept. 17
1. Alberta Dunbar San Diego Brownie Triangles Ala Italiano
2. Cheryl Akeney Anaheim Chocolate Chambord Raspberry Brownies
3. Janet Davidson Alta Loma Dark Chocolate Brownies
George Gearys Biscuit Mix held Sept. 20
1. Marilyn Cruz La Verne -