The waiting is the worst. Pacing back and forth, back and forth. Wide eyes darting to and fro. Deep sighs heard every few minutes. For crying out loud, waiting for the birth of a child isn’t this nerve wracking! So goes the judging at the cooking competitions at the L.A. County Fair. Every year domestic chefs of all levels enter their best dishes in the Fair’s Culinary Styles contests, vying for the coveted Blue Ribbon and bragging rights for the best pie, cookies, pizza, chili, even tamale!
Two popular competitions were held recently. The cheesecake competition was fierce! You’d think secret info on the Governor’s race was on the line the way spectators (and contestants) rubber-necked and eavesdropped on the judges while they tasted the sweet and savory entries. In the end, Chef Leslie, the new Culinary Styles coordinator and proprietor of the Young Chef’s Academy in Claremont, and her crew of experts chose the following winners:
Sweet cheescake:
First place – Ann Turley of Walnut with an apricot layered cheesecake.
Second place – Arlene Tayor of West Covina.
Third place – Dina Fernandez with a lemon cheesecake.
Savory cheesecake:
First place – April Burton of Rowland Heights with a chicken and salsa cheesecake.
Second place – Rebecca Mourer of La Habra with a roasted garlic and seafood cheesecake.
Third place – Peggy Linberg of Upland with a salmon cheesecake.
On Sept. 11, cupcakes were the delight of the day. The Cupcake Baking Contest yielded 16 entries, all looking fantastic. The winners are:
First place – Brooke Armijo of Pomona with a lemon blueberry cupcake filled with blueberry compote and topped with lemon creamcheese frosting. (Yum!).
Second place – Lauren Porter of Upland (Brooke’s sister. Who’s their mother and how did she teach them to bake so well?!) with a cinammon toast crunch cupcake.
Third place – Heide Ojeisekhoba of Upland with a pumpkin cupcake.

Lots more culinary contests are coming up like Enchilada, guacamole, Ghirardelli, big baking and leftover turkey. We’ll keep you posted.

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