Culinary Competition

At the 26th Annual Angels Wine, Food & Brew Festival, there was, of course, wine and beer aplenty, but let’s take a moment to discuss the food. Local restaurants came out with their feathers fanning, sharing everything from gourmet pizzas to stuffed avocados, bruschettas, ceviches, salsas, mini cakes, brownies and more. Guests could be seen balancing glasses and plates, and coming back for more.


And amid all the palate tempting was a festive cook-off contest. The 9th Annual Yummie Culinary Competition served up the classic age-old question: Savory or sweet? Lucky for the judges, they got a bit of both. The contest showcased more than 20 participating festival chefs’ dishes, and saw Actor Oded Fehr return as the emcee. In addition, there was a judging panel that included Celebrity Chef and WLM Culinary Editor Eric Kopelow, along with Chef Masa Shimakawa, Chef de Cuisine of ONYX at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village; MasterChef competitor, fashion stylist and creative consultant, Olivia Crouppen; Chef Carson Peterson, Top Chef Jr. Season 2 contestant; Lisa McKinnon, food columnist for the Ventura County Star; Chef Nic Manocchio of University Auxiliary Services – California State University Channel Islands; Actress Denise Boutte, co-author of Southern Modified and CEO of Weeziana Girl Spices; and Billy Koskoff of catering and events at USC.


Judges tasted and rated the dishes for best “savory” and the best “sweet” chefs’ masterpieces. These ratings were based on flavor, presentation, innovation and quality. Here are the 2019 Yummie Culinary Competition Top Chef Award Winners:


Sweet Dishes

First Place Julia San Bartolome of Sweet Arleen’s

Mexican Hot Leche Cake
Tequila-infused chocolate cake served on a jalapeño and lime sour cream sauce, drenched with a homemade hot leche over cinnamon sugar crunch

Second Place Anastashia Chavez of The 2686 Kitchen/Ojai Beverage Co.

Lemon Verbena Cheesecake
Mascarpone custard, citrus graham crust, lemon verbena curd. blueberry ale compote, salted honeycomb crunch

Third Place Alex Montoya of Fluid State Beer Garden

Bourbon Butterscotch Oolong Frozen Custard
Gold chocolate hardshell, pecans and speck salt


Savory Foods

First Place Abdu Romero of Slate Bistro

Coconut Shrimp
Okinawa potato, ginger coconut cream, pineapple, Thai chili, scallions

Second Place Jeff Downey of The Saticoy Club

Marinated and Grilled Octopus
Lightly sautéed with garlic, heirloom cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, fresh lemon juice and basil served with warm flatbread

Third Place Alex Castillo of Twenty88

Mashed Fried Plantain Cake with Chicharrón
Topped with slow cooked pork belly, blood orange and quince glaze, pickled seasonal veggies and lemongrass ginger pesto oil


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