The Golden Foodie Awards Nominees

The Orange County food scene is exploding, here's why.

Boom! That's the sound of the exploding Orange County food scene, which is drawing the attention of local foodies -- so much so that tickets for the Sept. 29 Golden Foodie Awards at The Fairmont Newport Beach are already sold out. Sponsored by Orange Coast Magazine, the event brings together an impressive list of chefs, culminating in an awards ceremony that marks their achievements of 2013.

Presenters include Food Network's Duff Goldman and Neil Saavedra, host of the Fork Report, Real Housewives of Orange County Heather Dubrow and Vicki Gunvalson, Tim Ryan of the Anaheim Ducks, and Dennis Kuhl, chairman of the Los Angeles Angels.

Comedian Frances Dilorinzo (pictured)—with her fast chatter and hilarious comic take—was a key part of the 2012 show, so we're thrilled she's returning. "Last year, we broke the ice and let our audience know that the GFA's was not your typical boring awards show," she says. "We celebrated amazing food, good friends, and lots of funny."

Watch this space for the list of winners. Nominations for this year's event include:

Best Mixologist: Dave Castillo, 320 Main Koire Rogers, Arc Food & Libations Forrest Taylor, Scott's Restaurant & Bar

Best Happy Hour: Mozambique Restaurant Wildfish Seafood Grille The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar

Best Cocktails: Hopscotch 320 Main Uva Bar

Best Indian Cuisine: Clay Oven Royal Khyber Tamarind of London

Best Seafood: House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer Slapfish Wildfish Seafood Grille

Best Asian Cuisine: AnQi by Crustacean Bamboo Bistro Bluefin Sushi

Best Sushi: Bluefin Sushi Riptide Rockin’ Sushi Sushi Noguchi

Best Burger: Deemer's Grill Mick's Karma Bar Slater's 50/50

Best Beer: Hopscotch Provisions Market Slater's 50/50

Best Mediterranean: Kentro Greek Kitchen LUCCA Cafe Zov's Bistro

Best Pizza: Fuoco PIzzeria Il Dolce Pizzeria Pizzeria Ortica

Best Italian Cuisine: Anaheim White House Antonello's Ristorante Bruno's Trattoria

Best Food Writer: Anita Lau Cathy Thomas Minerva Thai

Best Vegetarian Cuisine: 118 Degrees Seabirds True Food Kitchen

Best Steak: Maro Wood Grill The Ranch Restaurant Steakhouse 55

Best Mexican Cuisine: Cha Cha's Latin Kitchen The Matador Sol Cocina

Best Tacos: Javier's Mi Casa Sol Cocina

Best French Cuisine: Brasserie Pascal Marche Moderne Pinot Provence

Best Wine List: The Ranch Restaurant SeaLegs Wine Bar The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar

Best Californian Cuisine: SeaLegs Wine Bar Tabu Grill Two 40 South

Best American Cuisine: Bistango The Ranch Restaurant Savannah Chop House

Superior Service: Anaheim White House Mesa Villa Roma

Most Delicious Dessert: Maro Wood Grill - Banana Bread Pudding Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen - Beignets LUCCA - S’mores in a Jar

Best New Restaurant: Arc Food & Libations Bruno's Trattoria SeaLegs Wine Bar

Most Golden Pastry Chef: Chef Amelia Marneau, Marche Moderne Chef David Rossi, The Ranch Restaurant Chef Rachel Klemek, Blackmarket Bakery

Golden Chef Award: Chef Alan Greeley, Golden Truffle Chef Michael Rossi, The Ranch Restaurant Chef Yvon Goetz, The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar