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5th Annual Taste of Peñasco and Iron Chef Competition—Not Just About Food

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DISEñO 2 LONA 4 X 1 MTS IRON CHEF To truly appreciate this event is to understand that the word “Taste” in this moniker is used in its full nuance from the word “Sabor” in Spanish which refers to much more than just the taste of food.  It idiomatically encompasses all that makes a place, a thing, or an atmosphere endemically and invitingly pleasing to ones senses, like its color, its culture, its art, its people, its music, its dance, as well as its traditional foods and drinks.

With this understanding, may you go forth and fully enjoy the cultural as well as the culinary flavors of colorful Puerto Peñasco, Sonora Mexico at the 5th Annual “Taste of Peñasco”! It all starts at 11:00 A.M. and runs until 5:00 P.M. on Saturday, February 11, 2012 at Plaza del Camarón (Shrimp Plaza) located on Benito Juarez across Fremont Street from City Hall.

Ah, yes, there will be food. Good food and lots of it. In fact, as of today, nine of the thirty something exhibitors participating are resorts and restaurants that will be showing off their culinary contributions to the culture of Puerto Peñasco.

The other two-thirds of the exhibitors represent the arts, crafts and services that add their own creative flavor to your lasting memories of the ambiance of our seaside paradise.

ironcheflogo Highlighting the culinary side of this event is the prestigious Iron Chef Competition, now in its 4th year.  With a record seven chefs competing, this years’ test promises to be the fiercest yet. In fact, two of the chefs in the competition are previous winners. The competitors will be (in no particular order, by chef/sous-chef): Ramón Ramos/Eliezer Lozano, previous winner, owner, La Cocina de Ramón; Julio Cauich/Gerónimo Lopez, Mayan Palace; José Quiroz/Luis Alfredo Corales, Al Capones; Marco Antonio Mendez/Giovanni Osuna, El Coyote Grill; Blanca Cuadras and Gabriela Mata, UTPP School of Gastronomy; Mickey Medina, previous winner, owner, Mickey’s Place; and Juan Caballero/Ricardo Murrieta, Mare Blu Restaurant.

How the contest works is most interesting. These highly skilled chefs will choose their menu from pre-purchased ingredients for an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert. But there are two kickers involved: their dishes must include a main ingredient that will remain secret until the start of the contest; and the second kicker is that they will have only 15 minutes to prepare the appetizer, 30 minutes to prepare the entrée, and 15 minutes to prepare the dessert, again, all of which must contain the “secret” ingredient.

Their preparations will be graded on presentation, taste and creative use of the secret ingredient by a panel of five judges, four of whom are highly qualified in the culinary arts, and for the first time ever, this year one will be a layman chosen by a raffle drawing Saturday morning.  If you are interested in entering the drawing to become a guest judge, tickets are $5.00 USD or $60 pesos each. If you live here you can purchase them from now until Friday the 10th of February at the Tourism and Visitor Assistance (TVA) Office, Latitude 31 restaurant, Coldwell Banker, and Peñasco Beauty Center. Call the TVA for more details at 638-388-6624.

The secret ingredient is known by only one person until the day of the contest—yes, we tried but couldn’t even get a hint as to who the holder of the secret ingredient might be, much less what the ingredient is.

In fact, this hyper-active, (and highly organized) committee is even holding back on the names of the judges, and only through skilled cunning were we able to squeeze the identity of just one of the judges from Rosie Glover, the committee coordinator (Read: Chairman; Visualize: Tiara, whip, saber–just kidding, Rosie!).  That judge is none other than Ed Chileen of “Crazy Ed’s” and “Satisfied Frog” fame from Carefree, Arizona, a bona fide  celebrity among the top restaurateurs in Arizona!  Mayor Alejandro Zepeda Munro will personally announce the winner of this year’s Iron Chef Award.

Throughout the day, there will be raffle drawings (separate from the drawing for Iron Chef judge) for well over 60 prizes ranging from weekends in the beachfront resorts like Puerta Privada or one of the four Sonoran Resorts, dinners, concert tickets to Roger Cline’s Circus Mexicus and the Peñasco Palooza concert in March; beauty treatments, bottles of tequila, gift certificates and many others. You can purchase the main raffle tickets from the same locations mentioned above or from any of the committee members named below.  Cost is $5.00 US or $60 pesos each, or the best deal is 5 tickets for $20.00 USD or $240 pesos. IC(11x14)Poster (2)

We hasten to mention that the proceeds from this entire event will benefit the Bomberos (Firemen) of Peñasco who are all volunteers, and the 2Fish Ministries who feed an incredible number (about 17,000 per month) of needy folks here every single day. So buy all the tickets you can, enjoy the prizes and help the less fortunate and volunteer firemen and women who protect the city from incendiary threats.

Entertainment will be almost continuous all day and includes the Peñasco Symphony Orchestra, Folkloric dancing and the versatile Riband, arguably the best local band in Peñasco, plus other performances yet to be named.

DSC_0001-1As you might imagine, organizing and coordinating an event with so many activities is a monumental task requiring detailed and unselfish dedication by a team of “doers” whose sole goal is to create a flawless day of fun for everyone. This year the committee, all volunteers, has been an exceptional team of 15 community-minded leaders who have shared cross-over duties in 13 different areas of responsibility with phenomenal results.

They each deserve a mention and we gratefully thank them.  If you know any of these fine people or happen to meet them before, during or after the Taste of Peñasco event, please thank them for giving so much of themselves creating a fun time for so many people on Saturday the 11th of February!

The committee, led by Coordinator Rosie Glover, includes Jonni Francis, Gilberto Castillo, Kit Anderson, Cindy Hall, Sami Keesecker Rivero, Ivan Valle, Ramon Lara, Kathia Cons Soto, Monroe Riddle, Penny Rabicoff, Jerry Canez, Dr. Doug Allen, Betty Majors and Russ Black.

With a committee this dedicated, the most entries in the Iron Chef competition ever, the quality entertainment line-up that is still growing, and with over 30 exhibitors, this year’s Taste of Peñasco should be the best ever! Come out and see for yourself.

This blog is brought to you by Sonoran Resorts Sales Group, Jim Ringquist, Director of Sales.

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  1. kathymazel says:

    Congratulations to all of you for your work and dedication. 
    Best of luck for a successful event. 
    Kathy Mazel

  2. Cindy Hall says:

    Thank you, Joe for your wonderful article.  Yes, we are all working hard at promoting this event and making it the best Taste of Peñasco, yet.  It will be FUN for the entire family.

  3. scotty says:

    Terrific article…I can’t wait for this year’s Taste….!

  4. El marlin rojo says:

    Great Article!!

  5. Kit Anderson says:

    Very nice!  Thanks for the great article!

  6. Sami says:

    Awesome Joe, as always! ~ Sami