Pros Will Judge Lambtown Festival Cook-Off; BBQ Teams Urged to Compete

Professional and backyard bar-b-que chefs will be lighting their fires at the Lambtown Festival at the Dixon May Fair grounds on Sunday, October 8th to compete for the highly coveted title of “Winner of the 31st annual Lamb Cook Off.”
Each chef can have up to three assistants to help with the preparation of their cook off entry. This year’s featured cut is Lamb Shoulder. Teams have been testing their special, secret recipes at family and neighborhood cookouts to achieve just the right flavor, tenderness, and appearance for their Lambtown Cook off entry.
Along with the coveted title, cash prizes are awarded to First, Second, and Third place teams. Knowing money is on the line increases the tension of this highly competitive event.
Entries must be prepared on-site and created from scratch the day of the event. The rules and regulations along with the Entry Form is located on the Lambtown Festival website:
The deadline for applying is September 22.  For more details contact the Cook- off Chair, Dana Foss, at 707.249.3276.
An outstanding group of judges will be sampling each entry and determining the award winners. The Cook off judges include Rich Ibarra, Journalist for Capital Public Radio and retired reporter from KCRA 3. Rich is known as the “Mayor” of Stockton by his colleagues and is highly experienced in the culinary arts. Rich develops a special Asparagus recipe for the Celebrity Kitchen each year at the Asparagus Festival held in April.
Gabrielle Myers will be returning to the Lambtown Festival not as a competitor this time, but as a judge. Gabrille’s Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint Salsa Verde Recipe was the 2006 Lambtown Cook off Winner. Gabrielle is an Associate Professor of English at San Joaquin Delta College, writer, and chef living in the Sacramento Valley. She has spent time working on an organic farm and has co-authored a book on nutrition.
An executive chef, owned a restaurant and a catering company, then became a hotel Food and Beverage manager moving up to general manager qualifies Mark Merrill as a Lambtown Cook off judge.
For the last 20 years Mark has reviewed hotels and restaurants internationally, totaling around 2,000 restaurants. He is a professed “Lamb Fan”, having spent one month each year for 15 years in New Zealand.
Described “as one of the most successful catering chefs ever in Northern California”, Joy Reed, will be returning to California from France just in time to judge the Lamb Cook-off. Joy was an executive chef at the Wawona Hotel in Yosemite, former restaurant owner, sold two catering businesses that she had built, and made some money in real estate. Joy now does everything just for fun. Said to “have the best tasting palette of anyone,” Joy will be looking for unique and hidden flavors in the competitors recipes.
Many festival goers consider the Lamb Cook-off the premiere event of the two day long Festival. Those who attend the festival on Sunday, October 8, will enjoy the wonderful aromas from the bar-b-ques, listening to live bands throughout the day, sheep dog demonstrations, Black Sheep Vintage Market, the amazing Farmers Market, Cooking Demo’s, Fiber workshops, Meet the Breeds, Sheep show, National Spinning Competition and the Kids Ag-Ventures area. The Lambtown Festival welcomes the entire family and offers entertainment and activities for all ages.

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