The Austin Chronicle

Judges Announced for Seventh Annual Quesoff

By Kali Venable, August 2, 2017, 12:47pm, On the Range

The cheesiest competition of the year – Quesoff – just announced judges for its seventh annual queso competition. Six individuals will vote on the best spicy, meaty, veggie, and wild card quesos, as well as a best in show winner during the competition, held on Aug. 26, from 2-5pm.

More than 30 teams, ranging from restaurants and top chefs to good ol’ home-cooks, will show off their cheesy goodness, including past champions, Cheesus, Not By Bread Alone, Austin Facial Hair Club, and many-time champ, Frank.

Judges are set to include chef Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue and Hot Luck; Mariam Parker, executive director of Austin Food & Wine Alliance; Matthew Odam, restaurant critic and food writer for the Austin-American Statesman; Mike Thelin of Feast Portland and Hot Luck; Shelly Phillips, festival director of the Austin Food + Wine Festival; and Wendy Cummings, SXSW senior business development.

Mayor Steve Adler will also attend the event on Aug. 26, which he has even proclaimed to be the city’s official Quesoff Day. Mayor Adler will carry on the tradition of Mayor Lee Leffingwell, who judged the second annual Quesoff back in 2012.

Like last year’s Quesoff, the competition will benefit the Central Texas Food Bank, which means that anyone can gain admission to indulge in queso entries by donating two canned goods or making a $2 donation.

There will not be the queso bath we all (or maybe just I) have been waiting for, but for the first time this year there will be a Say Queso photo-booth and the maria-cheese band Mariachi Relampágo, who will join returning resident DJ Johnny Hottub in providing entertainment for the queso celebration.

Entries from home cooks and budding chefs will be going up against queso submissions from the following restaurants and entities: Chicon, Bullfight, LeRoy and Lewis, Burro Cheese Kitchen, Kesos Taco House, BuzzFeed Austin, JuiceLand, Freebirds World Burrito, Mama Fu’s Asian House, Red Mango, Vegan Nom, Willigan’s Island, Project ATX6, Pop That Chalupa, The Shady Grove, Javelina Bar, Waterloo Ice House, Independence Brewing Company, The Green Machine, ChefStir, Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ, EastSide Tavern, Wheatsville Co-op, The Bitter Lemon, Facebook Austin, El Chile, Kebabalicious and previous winners, Cheesus, Not By Bread Alone, Austin Facial Hair Club, and Frank.

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