Top Winners in Judges & People’s Choice categories of Culinary Contest
For the second year in a row Villa Catrina Mexican Restaurant won the Best in Show award from expert judges at Taste of Arcadia 2015. And Embassy Suites Arcadia won Best in Show in the first-ever People’s Choice voting at the event.
There were 10 different winners overall in five categories rated by judges and the same five categories for which ballots were provided to nearly 1,400 attendees.
Expert judges were Chef Bill Yee, President Le Cordon Bleu Alumni Association; Chef Alexander Reyes – founder/owner Saute Culinary Academy; and Chef Scott Storms, co-owner of Sauté Culinary Academy.
Judge’s Picks — winners with selected comments by judges:
· Best of Show: Villa Catrina Mexican Restaurant — handmade tortillas & salsa; assorted grilled & braised meats
-Chef Scott Storms: “I could smell the tortillas from two booths over and began to salivate with anticipation. Villa Catrina exceeded my anticipation with delicious handmade tortillas and salsas, as well as a cochinita pibil that was out of this world.”
· Best Presentation: Arcadia Gardens Retirement Hotel — grilled chicken w/ cauliflower puree & marinated tomatoes; sweet cherry & pine nut panna cotta
-Chef Bill Yee: “Beautiful fruit carving displays and attention to overall presentation”
-Chef Scott Storms: “Hands down the unanimous choice; the food was delicious and beautiful. Although it’s 30+ years away, I am looking forward to retirement.”
· Best Savory Dish: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel — BBQ ribs
-Chef Scott Storms: “Fall-off-the-bone tender with a sauce that came alive in the mouth”
· Most Innovative: Methodist Hospital Café — two cold soups: gazpacho & blueberry honeydew
-Chef Scott Storms: “Refreshing and unique, these cold and tasty soups hit the spot on a warm fall evening.”
· Best Dessert: Rita’s Italian Ice – Gelati; frozen custard and passion fruit or mango flavored Italian ice.
-Chef Bill Yee: “Reminded me of when I was growing up in Brooklyn NY and getting my favorite cherry Italian ice in little paper cups at the local pizzeria.”
People’s Choice – with selected comments by judges
· Best of Show: Embassy Suites Arcadia — Crab Cake Sliders & Quinoa Salad
· Best Presentation: Max’s Mexican Cuisine: Chile Verde & margaritas
· Best Savory Dish: Café LuMar: Beef goulash stew w/ mashed potatoes, spinach gnocchi
· Most Innovative: PizzaRev: Craft Your Own Custom Pizza –White Mushroom, Margherita, Meat & Peppers, BBQ Chicken, Pepperoni
-Chef Bill Yee: “Crafting your own pizza was a cute idea and the result because of their thin crust and tasty toppings was delicious”
· Best Dessert: Bulgarini Gelato Artigianale — assorted flavors
-Chef Scott Storms: “You can taste the quality of ingredients used in each flavor. Pomegranate and Hazelnut stole the show.”
Organizing and coordinating the Culinary Contest were Kristy Thatcher Bradshaw and volunteer Margo Perry.
This year’s returning Gold sponsors of the Taste of Arcadia at the Los Angeles County Arboretum were Westfield Santa Anita, Methodist Hospital of Southern California, and BMW of Monrovia.