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Festival Judges Prepare & Dish Before They Taste

The judges are eagerly awaiting their chance to taste and rate the participants in this Saturday’s Taste of Falls Church. But how are they preparing for the competition? Are there any foods that they just won’t eat? The News-Press poses some hard-hitting questions to this weekend’s four official “tasters.”

Robin Gardner Mayor, City of Falls Church

1. How will you be prepping your palate for judging the Taste of Falls Church?

TOFCrobingardner

I plan on exercising in the morning, eating nothing, drinking a lot of water, and coming famished!

2. You’ve just returned home from a bad day- which comfort food are you reaching for?

I am addicted to cereal – it’s quick and easy. If I have it around or am in the mood to cook, though, my comfort foods are things like mashed potatoes, apple cobbler and noodle casseroles. There is something about their warmth and density that I really like.

3. Would you consider yourself a) a whiz in the kitchen or b) a pro at the nearest dialing take-out?

I have the fastest dialing finger in Falls Church. If it’s take-out, I’m there. If it’s delivery, even better!

 

4. What’s a deal breaker for you when it comes to food?

I really cannot stand black olives. Oh, and I’m a vegetarian, so I guess meat is a deal-breaker!

5. What’s the craziest or most exotic food you’ve ever tasted?

Shark-fin soup. Never again.

6. Imagine you’re on “Iron Chef.” What do you hope is your “secret ingredient?”

Personality.


 


 

 

JUDGEcathykayeCathy Kaye Treasurer, City of Falls Church

1. How will you be prepping your palate for judging the Taste of Falls Church?

I have been doing isometric exercises for my jaw muscles so I can go the distance … you can never be too ready!

 

2. You’ve just returned home from a bad day – which comfort food are you reaching for?

HoHo’s . . . chocolate and frosting, nature’s perfect (and most cheerful) food!

3. Would you consider yourself a) a whiz in the kitchen or b) a pro at the nearest dialing take-out?

It depends on the day. Most days I like to cook, but some days it is take-out or TomK doesn’t get to eat!!  4. What’s a deal breaker for you when it comes to food?

Cilantro… I will not eat it.

5. What’s the craziest or most exotic food you’ve ever tasted?

I love crazy and exotic food…the crazier and more exotic the better! One of the most exotic was during a recent visit to a new Ethiopian restaurant, we ordered a very spicy beef dish that neither of us had tried before…it turned out that the meat was raw, it was so spicy that we couldn’t even tell for sure that the meat was not cooked, we had to ask! That explained the questioning look we got when we placed the order!

6. Imagine you’re on “Iron Chef.” What do you hope is your “secret ingredient?”

Salt. I have 27 different varieties… I’m a pro!

 

 


 

 

Rob Meeks Falls Church Planning Commission

1. How will you be prepping your palate for judging the Taste of F.C.?JUDGErobmeeks

Unfortunately I cannot disclose my full training program. I can say that it is extensive and exhaustive.

2. You’ve just returned home from a bad day – which comfort food are you reaching for?

Are you asking whether I drown my sorrows with mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese? Do I seek solace from meatloaf or applesauce cake? The answer is I add a little low-fat Swiss cheese to the top of my rice cake and keep moving on.

3. Would you consider yourself a) a whiz in the kitchen or b) a pro at the nearest dialing take-out?

I pride myself on being both a hunter and a gatherer.  4. When judging, which is more important: taste or presentation? What’s the breakdown?
The Taste of Falls Church is a great event. This day is high on my “reasons I love the City of F.C.” list. But, let’s be honest: we are eating food in a parking lot. The presentation is a little tough for all of the participants.

5. What’s the craziest or most exotic food you’ve ever tasted?

Many times I have not known what I was eating. But that is no big deal; I don’t get out too much.

6. Imagine you’re on “Iron Chef.” What do you hope is your “secret ingredient?”

I cannot say what it is, but I would get it at Penzey’s Spice.

 

 


 

 

Jimmy Scarano Falls Church Times Food WriterJUDGEjimmys

1. How will you be prepping your palate for judging the Taste of F.C.?

I’m more concerned about prepping my stomach than my palate. I’ll be eating light the day before and the day of the event.

2. You’ve just returned home from a bad day – which comfort food are you reaching for?

A piece of fruit. I’m obsessed with fruit. Lately I’ve been gorging on late summer peaches, figs, and nectarines. Food doesn’t get much better.

3. Would you consider yourself a) a whiz in the kitchen or b) a pro at the nearest dialing take-out?

I wouldn’t say I’m a whiz, but I’m more “a” than “b.”

 

4. What’s a deal breaker for you when it comes to food?

I am legitimately afraid of ketchup. That’s my kryptonite.

5. What’s the craziest or most exotic food you’ve ever tasted?

Chicken feet, tripe, ostrich, octopus, tongue…I only hope the list gets longer. I love to try new foods.

6. Imagine you’re on “Iron Chef.” What do you hope is your “secret ingredient?”

Great question! I’d love to see chilies as a secret ingredient (Thai bird, Serrano, jalapeno, cherry, Anaheim, cayenne etc.). Not only do I cook with them all the time because I love spicy food, but they are also versatile and different varieties have different flavor profiles.

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