From Asian dishes to pizza, Pasadena Taste of the Town inspires fierce competition

High school restaurants and culinary teams prepared with delicious secret weapons as they competed for favors with hungry visitors and judges at the 33rd Annual Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Taste of the city November 4.

To grab the crowd’s attention at the Pasadena Convention Center, the Pasadena High School kitchen team served a dish of chili cheese, brisket, jalapenos and barbecue sauce.

Then there was Sam Rayburn High School cooking student’s “pumpkin muffin” which featured a maple cream cheese and candy bacon frosting. Rayburn cook William Gonzalez proudly described how another dish consisted of chicken white chili with crispy tortillas on top.

“We’re working hard on this, all together. It’s teamwork,” said Gonzalez, who was busy serving the long line of visitors outside the Rayburn tent.

Dozens of local eateries filled the ground of the center for four hours, offering dishes ranging from pizza to Asian dishes.

The event was packed within 45 minutes of its start with people viewing the food samples as prized possessions, even though the pieces only lasted a moment before being eaten. A woman grabbed a small plate with her teeth while finding something in her clothes – and the small plate contained food.

New to the competition is the Pasadena ISD Culinary Award, won by the Rayburn team.

Rayburn cook Christy Lagunes said her team had prepared a range of tempting offers.

“For dessert, we had banana pudding with caramel in the middle and homemade wafers,” Lagunes said.

The Pasadena High team brought 4,000 pieces of the dish including chili cheese and brisket.

“We started making the cheese on Tuesday, then the brisket on Tuesday as well,” cooking teacher David Vandivort said. “We roasted it for about six hours, let it cool and sliced ​​it the next day. If it’s popular, we’ll try to bring it back with a little variation.

“Someone else was in charge of the brisket and I was in charge of the chili cheese. We collaborated, and that’s our baby,”

Awards were given for a wide range of foods. The American award went to Gilley’s Food & Beverage, the Sandwich award to Chicken Salad Chick Pasadena, the BBQ award to HCA Houston Healthcare Southeast, the Italian award to Bubba’s 33 and the Specialty award to Pipeline Grill.

The Beverage Award went to Olive’s Coffee Garden and the Dessert Award went to Nothing Bundt Cakes. HCA Houston Healthcare Southeast won the award for best decoration.

The highly regarded People’s Choice Award went to Nothing Bundt Cakes.

The Taste of Town wouldn’t be complete without these people willing to bid on dozens of auction items. As he has done in the past, Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner sat in the front row. He provided a prize in which six guests could sit in the mayor’s rodeo suite next year.

With the return of veteran auctioneer Bear Hebert, auction prizes included tickets to Astros, Rockets and Texans games, a day with the Pasadena Police Department and a getaway to the Smokey Mountains.

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