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Taste of F.C. Judges Dish on All Things Food

From quirky eats to beloved treats, this year’s panel of Taste of Falls Church judges share food preferences and memories, and even judge their own cooking abilities.

amyAmy McKeever
Editor, Eater DC

1.) What will you do to prepare for Taste of Falls Church?
I’ll probably go out for some long runs so that I won’t feel guilty for indulging.

2.) What is the most unusual food you enjoy?
Intestines, Korean barbecue-style.

3.) What food do you eat the most of any given week?
I go through a lot of brown rice, charcuterie and cheese.

4.) What is your favorite food?
Tie between my mother’s chile con queso and hamburgers.

5.) What is your least favorite food?
I’ve come around on beets, but I’ve never been crazy about root vegetables.

6.) What is the most memorable thing you’ve eaten in the past month?
Moist brisket at Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, Texas, just outside of Austin, where my parents live. It’s been around for more than 60 years and still killing it. We immediately ordered more to bring home after eating lunch there.

7.) How would you rate your own kitchen skills?
Better than average, but a little rusty as I’ve been dining out a lot more since starting this job!

8.) How do you feel about fast food?
I don’t eat at the big chains very often, but I think they have their time and place.

9.) Which do you prefer: sweet or salty?
Salty.

10.) Which celebrity chef would you invite to your kitchen?
I’d invite José Andrés, not just because I like his restaurants but also because I think he’d probably tell me a lot of jokes.

robRob Meeks
Grubb and Ellis Company

1.) What will you do to prepare for Taste of Falls Church?
In my case it is not as important to prepare for the event as it is to make sure that I get asked back. In other words, it is more important to be asked to the dance than to have a really good outfit. That is why I take every opportunity to thank Jenny Paxton, who is in charge of the Taste of Falls Church. She is one of the hardest working members of the City of Falls Church Staff. I think it is fair to say that if Jenny did not come to work the entire fabric of our lives would crumble into dust.

3.) What food do you eat the most of any given week?
Coffee. Wait, you might say, coffee is not a food. That is where you are wrong. Coffee is everything.

6.) What is the most memorable thing you’ve eaten in the past month?
As I am sure many readers might understand there are many foods that used to be a regular part of my diet that I don’t eat very often. French fries, ice cream, and potato chips are some examples. I had two Oreo cookies the other day and it was like seeing a long lost friend after 20 years apart.

7.) How would you rate your own kitchen skills?
If Kitchen Skills involve being charming and warm to the people doing the actual work I rate a solid 5 skillets out of 5.

8.) How do you feel about fast food?
We are very lucky now because the world of fast food is changed. There are so many excellent choices for fast casual dining where the food is great and the service quick. I am a huge fan of District Taco, for example.

9.) Which do you prefer: sweet or salty?
This question gave me an instant craving for chocolate covered pretzels, wait here I’ll be back.

10.) Which celebrity chef would you invite to your kitchen?
Although she frightens me, I think Martha Stewart has the world at her command.

DSC 0083Leslie Poster
News Editor, FCNP

1.) What will you do to prepare for Taste of Falls Church?
I’ll consider applicants for wingman.

2.) What is the most unusual food you enjoy?
I crave some of the interesting dishes my mom makes, like pizzaburgers, fried bologna sandwiches, and the various forms that leftovers tend to take.

3.) What food do you eat the most of any given week?
Does coffee count? I’ve been told I brew it so strong you have to chew it instead of drink it, so I think coffee counts.

4.) What is your favorite food?
Sushi. Always sushi.

5.) What is your least favorite food?
Anything served on a wooden stick. The food itself is delicious, I’m sure, but eating food off of a wooden stick just weirds me out.

6.) What is the most memorable thing you’ve eaten in the past month?
My 15-month-old cousin came to visit me on Labor Day, and I tried to convince her to eat her puffed grain toddler snacks by eating one myself. It was memorable, but I can’t say I enjoyed it!

7.) How would you rate your own kitchen skills?
I cook well enough, but I don’t have the patience to follow recipes.

8.) How do you feel about fast food?
My high school job in fast food has kind of spoiled me against it, but a Mac attack is a Mac attack.

9.) Which do you prefer: sweet or salty?
Salty.

10.) Which celebrity chef would you invite to your kitchen?
I’m tempted to say Paula Deen for the cuisine, but I’ll answer Alton Brown for the opportunity to learn.

joanJoan Wodiska
FCCPS School Board

1.) What will you do to prepare for Taste of Falls Church?
I must confess: I’m a chronic couponer. A great deal just tastes better. Through Groupons, Living Social, and the FCNP coupons, I’ve done extensive “advance” work eating my way through our hometown restaurants.

3.) What food do you eat the most of any given week?
Meat. Being from South Dakota, I am a carnivore or meatetarian. On Fridays, I’ve also been known to visit the street vendor outside my office for a half smoke or polish sausage with all the fix-ins.

6.) What is the most memorable thing you’ve eaten in the past month?
At the Top Chef School Lunch Fair, a Virginia school chef made black bean brownies without oil or eggs. It may sound strange, but it was utterly fantastic! Who says we can’t eat healthy and eat well?

7.) How would you rate your own kitchen skills?
To quote a country hit, “I’m above the below and below the upper.” I know my way around the kitchen and given the time, a rarity in my house, I can make just about anything. That being said, it is a joy to watch a professional do all the little things that make a good meal a great meal.

9.) Which do you prefer: sweet or salty?
During my time in public office, I’ve been called sweet, occasionally even salty. If I can’t broker a compromise between the parties of Sweet and Salty, I vote for salt.

10.) Which celebrity chef would you invite to your kitchen?
Sam Kass, the White House chef, tops my list. He is not only a great chef; he is also a leading advocate for healthy school meals and a supporter of our efforts to feed Virginia’s students through Food for Thought. Chef Kass also happens to be hotter than an oven and would make a very attractive addition to my kitchen.

naderNader Baroukh
City of Falls Church Mayor

1.) What will you do to prepare for Taste of Falls Church?
I will refrain from eating for as long as I can. I will also go on a bike ride before the event.

2.) What is the most unusual food you enjoy?
Aush-e-Reshteh – Iranian noodle soup. It’s made with different types of grain, legumes, herbs, onions, meat, garlic, dried/crushed mint leaves and a yogurt sauce. It brings me warm memories of my childhood.

3.) What food do you eat the most of any given week?
I am more of a snacker. Dried fruit and nuts and some type of energy bar.

4.) What is your favorite food?
Sushi.

5.) What is your least favorite food?
I love vegetables but please don’t ask me to eat steamed brussels sprouts.

6.) What is the most memorable thing you’ve eaten in the past month?
A grass fed steak purchased at the City of Falls Church Farmers’ Market and prepared by my wife Bernadette.

7.) How would you rate your own kitchen skills?
I don’t have any. But I make a very good cup of coffee or Persian tea.

8.) How do you feel about fast food?
Not for me … it doesn’t look good on the bike.

9.) Which do you prefer: sweet or salty?
I love a mix of sweet and salty food.

10.) Which celebrity chef would you invite to your kitchen?
Ming Tsai.

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