Thursday, June 14, 2012


Last Saturday, June 9th was an exciting day at the SoCo Farmers' Market in Costa Mesa as approximately 3,000 spectators gathered to cheer-on the competing chefs as they used farm-fresh ingredients to create unique, inspired dishes in 'The Farm to Food Truck Challenge III'. Six gourmet food trucks rose to the challenge in their quest for the title of "Top-Chop Truck": Taco Maria, Seabirds Truck, Barcelona OntheGo, Tamarindo Truck, Chomp Chomp Nation & Dos Chinos.

The Chefs from Taco Maria, Chomp Chomp Nation, Dos Chinos, Tamarindo Truck, Barcelona OntheGo & Seabirds Truck
Live steel drum music drifted through the air as the crowds gathered for the Farm to Food Truck Challenge III

A refreshing Blueberry-Lime Popscicle from the always-amazing Erin at Front Porch Pops
The beautiful, farm-fresh produce of the SoCo Farmers' Market - We love any event that supports our local farmers!
The chefs were given a list of 'secret ingredients' from the judges just minutes before the competition began - artichokes, brussel sprouts, pita chips, fresh-squeezed orange juice, sage honey & zucchini squash blossoms - all of which could be found at the stalls throughout the farmers' market. They then were given 60 minutes to dash through the market, collect their ingredients & prepare their unique dish to present to the panel of judges. 
The ladies of the Costa Mesa High School Cheer Squad kicked-off the festivities & rounded-up the crowds!
Chef Carlos of Taco Maria
The Chefs of Chomp Chomp Nation
Chef Stephanie from Seabirds Truck
The Chefs at the Starting Line
And, they're off!
The chefs dash through the market in search of farm-fresh ingredients
It was a fantastic cast of judges who had the difficult task of narrowing down the winners: Chef Andrew Gruel, winner of the Farm to Food Truck Challenge II & Chef/Owner of SlapFish; Mona Shah-Anderson, Owner of Moxxe PR; Pastry Chef Santanna Salas from Haven Gastropub; Kim Glen from the City of Costa Mesa; Priscilla Willis, food blogger extraordinaire & author of She's Cookin'; and Julie Lim of OC Wine Mart & Tasting Bar.

The Judges: (From Left) Mona Shah-Anderson, Santanna Salas, Andrew Gruel, Julie Lim, Kim Glen & Priscilla Willis
Left: Chef Andrew Gruel of SlapFish  |  Right: Pastry Chef Santanna Salas of Haven Gastropub, Haven Collective
Priscilla Willis, She's Cookin'
It was an intense competition with beautiful cuisine coming out of every truck's kitchen. In the end, the dishes were judged on three criteria: Utilization & creative use of farm-fresh ingredients (50 points), Taste (30 points) & Presentation (20 points). And the winners were:
  • 3rd Place: Barcelona OntheGo with octopus three ways over artichoke-brussel sprout hash, saffron carrot puree, orange beurre blanc, beer-battered squash blossom, and a jerez vinegar pita crisp
  • 2nd Place: Taco Maria with sage honey ricotta, apricot orange puree, black garlic aioli, artichoke scented with coriander, baby squash and squash blossoms
  • 1st Place: Seabirds Truck with an artichoke & cashew cream cheese-stuffed squash blossom over a salad of baby mixed greens, summer cilantro, California cherries, grilled brussel sprouts and pita croutons with a sage honey & orange juice vinaigrette  
I don't know about you, but my stomach is growling just reading the descriptions! Below, you can feast your eyes on a story-told-through-photos from what I captured with my lens during the event.  And, stay tuned to the SoCo Farmers' Market Facebook & Twitter pages, as talks of the Farm to Food Tuck Challenge IV that will take place this Fall are already underway!.... 

Follow Anne Watson Photography on the Web, Facebook and Twitter

Behind-the-scenes inside the Tamarindo Truck with Chef Pedro
Chef Stephanie of Seabirds workin' her vegan magic with farm-fresh produce
Chef Jennifer of Barcelona OntheGo
Inside the kitchen of the Barcelona OntheGo Truck
Chef Carlos of Taco Maria prepares a perfect artichoke
Inside the Taco Maria kitchen
Chomp Chomp Nation's outdoor kitchen that allowed the scents to waft through the market
The judges eagerly await the dishes
The ladies of Costa Mesa High School Cheer delivered each dish to the judging booth
Crowds gathered as the judging took place

Tamarindo Truck
Dos Chinos
Chomp Chomp Nation
Barcelona OntheGo
Taco Maria
Seabirds Truck
Chef Stephanie Morgan of Seabirds Truck: 1st Place Winner of the Farm to Food Truck Challenge III

No comments:

Post a Comment