Costa Mesa, Calif – The OC Fair Concessionaire's Cup is the ultimate battle between food vendors at the OC County Fair. The California Restaurant Association Foundation’s executive director, Alycia Harshfield, and director of development, Erin Mascho, had the tasty task of serving as judges.
They, along with an esteemed panel of food writers, fair staff, and Orange County chefs, sampled over 60 delectable entries ranging from items served on a stick, in a dish, chocolate dipped, deep fried, rolled, skewered, tossed and baked.
Judges scored the items in 10 categories: Best New Flavor, Best Healthy Alternative, Best Fried Food, Best on a Stick, Best on a Bun, Best Ethnic Dish, Owner’s Favorite, Best Dessert, Best Beverage, and Most Creative. Each category winner advances and their overall score is used to determine the grand prize of “Best of the Best Award” – complete with a trophy and bragging rights.
Top trends for the 2017 OC Fair:
- Unicorn food
- Hot Cheetos
- Nitrogen ice cream and caramel corn
- Cereals - Lucky Charms, Fruity Pebbles and Captain Crunch all made an appearance
"I was really impressed with the creativity! A deep fried funnel cake burrito? Nitrogen caramel popcorn? I don't know how they come up with these items," commented Alycia Harshfield. "But at the end of the day, it's about quality. My favorite dish was the potato chips with jalepeno cheese sauce. The potatoes were fresh, cooked to perfection and had a great flavor."
The CRA Foundation has a partnership with the OC Fair & Event Center that includes high school fieldtrips to the Fair’s culinary garden and farm, workshops for high school educators and volunteer opportunities. The OC Fair & Event Center is also the venue host for The Grateful Table, a CRAF event to support emergency assistance grants for restaurant workers facing an unforeseen hardship.
Note: The fair runs through Sunday through Aug. 13.
About the California Restaurant Association Foundation: CRAF is a non-profit organization that empowers California's current and future restaurant workforce. CRAF provides emergency assistance grants for restaurant workers facing a hardship, prepares 9,000 high school students each year for careers in culinary arts/hospitality, and provides scholarships.