The Austin Chronicle

https://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/food/2019-06-04/finding-the-best-in-melted-cheese-at-the-ninth-annual-quesoff/

Finding the Best in Melted Cheese at the Ninth Annual Quesoff

By Megan Menchaca, June 4, 2019, 10:00am, On the Range

If there’s one thing that unites all Texans, from the diversity of people living in the hills of El Paso to the growing skyscrapers of Houston, it’s probably queso.

Whether you prefer your dip with guacamole, salsa, or something more exotic, you’ll be able to find a recipe to fit your taste buds at Quesoff, the annual celebration of all things melted cheese. The ninth competition takes place at the Mohawk on July 27 from 1-4pm, and is open to all ages.

More than 35 teams compete for the prize of best cheesy goodness in four categories – Meaty, Spicy, Veggie, and Wild Card – as well as a Best in Show award for the top dish. The teams include groups from restaurants, top chefs, home cooks, neighbors, brothers and sisters, who go chip to chip against past winners, including Cheesus, Dai Due, Better Half, and Kesos Tacos.

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“The most special part about Quesoff, besides the yummy dishes, is that it's a competition where ... anyone who feels they should be considered in the convo for best queso in Austin, be it a professionally trained chef or someone's neighbor, can enter,” says Adi Anand, co-founder of Quesoff.

Anand describes via email an event that's a perfect way to spend a summer day double dipping to your heart's content (or your heart gives out) and indulging in the most-holy of melted foods.

Other local eateries and businesses participating in the event include Micklethwait Craft Meats, Uchiko, Central Standard, Scholz Garten, Pink Avocado Catering, Luvit BBQ, Republic Diner, Siete Foods, Posse East, Trudy's, Red's Porch, JuiceLand, Sala and Betty, Credo Foods, Jamie's Salsa, Eldorado Cafe, Taco Baby, Austin Daily Press, Austin's Pizza, Guero's, Maudie's, Voodoo Magic, Club Indigo, Formaggi-hoes, Downtown Cheesy Brown, It's All Gouda, and more.

The judges are Andrew Knowlton, editor at large at Bon Appétit; Callie Speer, executive chef and owner of Holy Roller; Fermin Nunez, executive chef of Suerte; Kendall Antonelli, co-owner and founder of Antonelli's Cheese Shop; Matthew Odam, restaurant critic for the Austin American-Statesman; and Michael Fojtasek, executive chef and owner of Olamaie.

The $3 donation required to stuff yourself with as much queso as you can handle will once again benefit the Central Texas Food Bank. Once you get inside, you’ll need to resist the urge to stick your fingers in the cheese dip, and instead purchase a bag of chips for $5. (And no, you can’t bring your own bag.) More details can be found on the organizer’s Facebook page.

“I do think (queso is) the type of dish that brings people together," Anand says. "To dip, to share stories, and to feel good."

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