This weekend, the SoCo Farmer’s Market held their first Farm to Food Truck challenge. This challenge was inspired by the show Chopped on the Food Network channel. The event featured 10 local food trucks. They were tasked with creating unique dishes from farm fresh ingredients found at the market. Total prep and cooking time was 2 hours.
I participated as a judge along with Marian Bacol-Uba, Anita Lau, Greer Wyler, and Hamilton Le (a guest judge). The 10 competing food trucks were: The Lime Truck, The Flip Truck, Spudrunners, Slapfish, Bacon Mania, Piaggio, Dos Chinos, Chomp Chomp Nation, Adobo Express and The Bakery Truck. The trucks prepared a dish using one protein, a pantry item from their truck, and their selections from the farmer’s market. We sat at the judges tables blindly tasting dish after dish and ranking them based on freshness and best use of ingredients (50 points), taste (30 points), and presentation (20 points).
Here are the dishes prepared by each truck:
- Filet Mignon Burger – The Flip Truck
- Crab Benedict with Quail Egg and vegetable hash – Chomp Chomp Truck
- Baja Lobster Grilled Cheese with roasted corn and blueberry lemonade – Spudrunners
- Skirt Steak salad with bacon wrapped asparagus – Piaggo
- Vietamese salad with rib-eye steak – Dos Chinos
- A trio of halibut – Slapfish
- Vegetable Lumpia – Adobo Express
- Duck breast with farm fresh risotto – The Lime Truck
- Bacon salad – Bacon Mania
- Apple and peach cream puffs – The Bakery Truck
Bacon Mania was named the Top Chop Truck. Their dish was made of flash fried spinach, honey drizzled and B pollen bacon, tomatoes, Haas avocados, and strawberries. The second place winner was Spudrunners and 3rd place was Dos Chinos. It was an amazing experience to be in the judges seat and taste what the food trucks were inspired to create using farmer’s market ingredient. Each plate had us guessing.
The market itself also showcases some extraordinary vendors. I arrived early to sample fresh fruit and vegetables, the asiago loaf from The Rustic Loaf, almonds, and various hummus from Baba Foods. Set at the SoCo collection in Costa Mesa (which has newly been renovated), this certified farmer’s market is held every Saturday from 9am-2pm and features a variety of fruit and vegetable vendors along with a rotation of gourmet food trucks. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more info.