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ZestFest returns to Irving for the 16th annual spicy food festival

BY IRVING WEEKLY STAFF

Irving, Texas. January 16, 2013

ZestFest 2013 returns to Irving on Jan. 25 – 27, for the 16th annual, three-day spicy food festival located at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas (ICCLC). Dallas/Fort Worth has been home to ZestFest for 11 years, and this year marks the third consecutive year hosted in Irving. 

“We are thrilled to have Zestfest back for its third year – it was our grand opening event, and we’ve watched it continue to grow each year,” said Maura Allen Gast, executive director of the Irving Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Zestfest fans and exhibitors are great guests and we look forward to welcoming them back to Irving for another fiery fest.”

Year-after-year ZestFest rounds up the spiciest exhibitors and products from around the country for a hot weekend packed with thousands of bold food samples, live music, interactive contests, and a variety of cooking demonstrations by top chefs including Jon Bonnell of Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine and Buffalo Brothers Eddie Deen; and John Franke from Irving’s The Ranch at Las Colinas.

Wingstop®’s Atomic Wing Eating Contest returns to ZestFest on Saturday at 1 p.m. Saturday ZestFest attendees have the opportunity to sample, and also judge their favorite spicy foods in the People’s Preference Awards. Winners are announced later that day.

Produced by Spicy Food Productions and presided over by independent VIP judges (food critics, media foodies and chefs) ZestFest’s Fiery Food Challenge (FFC) is the longest running, most prestigious competition of zesty products in the industry. Competitors are invited to submit hot, spicy, zesty foods and fiery food-related products vying for the prestigious Golden Chile Award – one of only two “fiery” food awards in the United States.

The challenge runs from Monday, Jan. 21 – Wednesday, Jan. 23, with an open-to-the-public Awards Dinner on Friday evening, Jan. 25. A separate ticket is required to attend the Awards Dinner. For more information on the FFC, contact Judy Fuhrhop at (817) 306-4386 or judymagouirk@att.net.

Event organizations anticipate the best ZestFest FFC yet. John “CaJohn” Hard of CaJohn’s Fiery Food will serve as the FFC Senior Product Consultant. Hard is a winner of more than 400 awards in National, International and Regional competitions; 79 Golden Chiles; more than 100 other Fiery Food Challenges; and the 2012 Best O-verall Award. Visitors to ZestFest can experience CaJohn’s Xecution Station – eight samples of sauces ranging from Very Hot to Xcruciatingly Hot, with each sample getting a little (or a lot) hotter. Four of the station sauces contain Trinidad Scorpion Pepper, the hottest pepper in the world.

ZestFest tickets are $13 each on Friday; $14 each on Saturday and Sunday; $37 each for three-day passes; and $100 each for three-day passes including the FFC dinner. Children 10 and under are free when accompanied by a ticket-holding adult. Tickets are available for purchase online, click here, or at the convention center box office during event hours. ZestFest opens Friday, Jan. 25 from 1 – 7 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 27 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the ICCLC. For exhibitor, travel or other information, visit zestfest2013.com or irvingconventioncenter.com.



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