The 2nd Annual Big Bite Bacon Fest last Saturday evening, July 5, at the San Diego County Fair provided over 4,000 guests and FOB's (Friends of Bacon) with a way to taste a lot of great bacon-based food items. The Fair's Del Mar Arena was full of the scent of sizzling bacon, roasted pork belly, bacon wrapped meatballs, grilled chicken legs wrapped in bacon and more tasty treats. There were even Bacon S'mores and bacon cupcakes. More than 40 local San Diego lagers and ales were sampled from breweries like Aztec, Ballast Point, Pizza Port and Victory Brew.
Ghost Scream Hot Sauce offered Spicy Caramel Popcorn while Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor offered a 'Hunka Hunka Burning Love Bacon Sundae' as a tribute to Elvis. Slater's 50/50 brought their signature cheeseburger with their patty of 50% ground bacon and 50% beef. Meanwhile, the San Diego Donut Bar had plenty of Maple Bacon Bars to enjoy. Big Mista's BBQ from Long Beach came down to bring their signature Pig Candy one of the most delicious bacon items ever created, to the event. Meat, Inc. brought their 'Moink Balls' and Dominic's at the Harbor had some delicious pork belly.
The highlight of the day was the Big Bite Bacon Fest live cooking competition. Three judges got to enjoy many fantastic dishes from each team. The teams consisted of one professional chef, one amateur chef and one child chef. The competition, hosted by San Diego radio station Star 94.1FM's Josh Lozano, was anxiously watched by the audiences as the chefs, who had 90 minutes to prepare and plate their dishes, presented them for judging.
A definite highlight was the Examiner.com's Edward Simon being chosen as one of the judges. "I was really impressed with the chefs in the competition, and especially the kid's chef competitors. If the kids had not brought their plates up to the judge's table themselves, I would have guessed that they were from professional chefs. The plating was attractive and the taste of all the kid's dishes was superb", said Edward.
Kiely Kuhlmann and Josh Rennick tied for the first place prize for Best Child’s Chef. After a suspenseful coin toss, Kiely and her Bacon-Wrapped Roast Pork Tenderloin took the winner’s spot and a prize of cooking classes from Sur La Table. The first place Best Amateur Chef went to Jullie Hull and her Maple French Toast Cupcake filled with Bone Marrow. Derek Jaeger, from The Cravory, impressed the judges with his sweet dish of Bacon Cornbread Cookie and Blackberry Pepper Jam.
The winning team, for first place in the Best Team category, was the trio Kiely Kuhlmann, Derek Jaeger, and Sammy Brooks. Derek and Sammy will now be taking their talents to the World Food Championship in Las Vegas. Their dish was both whimsical and incredibly delicious, with the plating attracting the eyes of the judges before they even got to taste the food.
For any anyone that missed the San Diego event, the Big Bite Bacon Fest will be coming to Long Beach next at the Queen Mary on Saturday, August 2nd. The Queen Mary, the site of many great food events in the last few years including the West Coast BBQ Classic and the Jack Daniel's Barrel Series Dinner, should be an excellent location to come feed your inner bacon craving. Information and event tickets are available at www.bigbiteevents.com.