Chefs Cook Off to Commemorate 20 Years of the Irvine Farmers Market

The biggest and best Orange County farmers market marks its two-decade anniversary Saturday

Just about all Orange County farmers market denizens agree: The Saturday Irvine market is the best in O.C. Superb suppliers Scarborough Farms and Cal Poly Pomona’s agriculture department choose it as their exclusive O.C. selling sites, and they’re excellent additions to a roster already overfilled with other quality sellers. This Saturday, Aug. 1, the market celebrates a milestone—its 20th anniversary. Of course, some of us have been celebrating weekly since the market moved last December to its expansive Mariners Church location—there’s nothing like massively easified parking to get farmers marketers in a party mood.

This weekend’s soirée will include free, family-friendly activities like face painting, train rides, and balloon sculpting, and, at 10 a.m., I’ll be judging a chefs’ cook-off, for which the contestants will shop the market before creating their dishes. Competing chefs are Loic Arquetout of vendor Frogs Organic Bakery, Massimo Navarretta of Onotria in Costa Mesa, and Saifon Plewtong of True Seasons Organic Kitchen in Anaheim. All three are market regulars, according to manager Trish Harrison, which sharpens the competition a bit—surely each has his or her special favorites and old reliables. How will the chefs use their individual inside knowledge to advantage? Come and see!

Saturday afternoon, more culinary-contest-related: I’ll be at the Orange County Fair for yet more adjudicating, this time for the Dip into the Fun competition, which starts at 1 p.m. in the Promenade.


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