Event - Golden Foodie Awards

My my my, what an exhilarating night it was at the Fairmont Newport Beach on September 30th when the OC Restaurant Association hosted their inaugural Golden Foodie Awards, the "people's choice" awards for chefs and restaurants all around Orange County. More than 400 people came out to the gorgeous location dressed to the nines in support of their favorite eateries. Well, at least I hope so. The other things they may have come out for were the amazing bites from some 15 of OC's finest restaurants and overflowing drinks from cocktails to beers to wines. For whatever reason you attended, I won't judge - though I was on the job to snag pictures and winners' names, I did not hesitate to snag some petite noms and partake in my share of the happiness-inducing drinks.


This red carpet fabulous event was a perfect gathering of the "who's who" of the Orange County food scene. Duc and I were there to capture the excitement on camera as we weaved between courteous waitstaff, flowing dresses, and sharply dressed men (well, he caught most of the food action while I was furiously tweeting). The food stations present and serving up to-die-for food were tacoasylum, Savannah Chophouse, Haven Gastropub, Bluewater Grill, Five Crowns, French 75, RA Sushi, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, SOL Cucina, Subzero and Wolf, LUCCA Cafe, Scott's Restaurant, Sundried Tomato, and Quattro Caffe. Golden Foodie Awards sponsors inside the pre-function area of the hotel also wowed our tastebuds with Dry Soda, Melissa's Produce, Hawaiian Springs Water, Sadie Rose Baking, and Kean Coffee. A Wish and A Whisk impressively featured a 6 1/2 foot tall golden foodie statue cake too! Libations free-flowed via Patron's artisanal cocktail bar (make your own or choose from three unique cocktails!), wines by La Crema, Freemark Abbey, and Kendall Jackson; and a specialty beer brewed by Ritual Brewing just for the Golden Foodie Awards. We loved getting to know co-brewer Oscar there as he talked about the smooth table beer we tried and came back for thrice. A live performance by Nancy Sanchez set the tone in jazzy Latin style.


The sheer quantity of top notch food was overwhelming. When you look at small bites, you think that you can finish it all but believe me, we couldn't even give everything a nibble. There was too much good stuff! I'll have to say though that one of my favorites of the evening was Ruth's Chris Steakhouse's sweet potato casserole shooter. That made my eyes roll back in bliss.


Everyone in attendance seemed to get a kick out of the red carpet treatment as photographers snapped snazzy shots of each guest coming through. Food stars came through and so did OC's top foodies - we were pleased to have run into so many familiar faces. I think what I love most about the foodie community is just how overly (and genuinely!) friendly everyone is. It speaks to the core of what lies in a foodie's heart - the giving spirit. Why else would you cook and celebrate in good food? You feed and share with the ones you love. After making a few rounds, the doors opened and everyone hustled into the splendid ballroom.


Hosted by the hilarious comedian Frances Dilorinzo, the Awards ceremony began with knee-slapping ribaldry as the present Real Housewives of OC were roasted as were others in the room. It was a night to be remembered. With 30 culinary categories to be awarded with a three-pound statuette of 14-carat gold lined solid pewter (made by the same manufacturers of the Golden Globe awards!), the audience's murmurings were quelled by decadent desserts by Blackmarket Bakery, Casey's Cupcakes, Randy's Brownies and Desserts, Splenda, A Wish and A Whisk Cakes, and Shari's Berries. What better way to keep us happy than desserts and sparkling wine? The crowd burst forward in excitement as each winner ran up to accept his/her well-earned award. If you didn't catch the play-by-play on my Twitter, the results are posted below.


Once the celebrations inside were over, the after-party went on outside. Foodies sure know how to throw a party! While the music inside was an original score created for the Golden Foodie Awards, outside were top hits to get guests' partying going. In addition to bumping music was a Muddle Your Own Mojito bar, free personally engraved Patron muddlers, a Patron tequila fountain, and circulated Patron cake pops. We stayed long enough to catch up with some others and to speak briefly with the Next Golden Chef winner, Francis, who promised to send over his pannacotta recipe that first put him on the map for the competition (readers, hold him to this now that it's in writing!). Congratulations!


My greatest accolades to the wonderful ladies and team over at the OC Restaurant Association (Pam & Tricia) for putting on an extraordinary event (and allowing us to attend!) and to both the nominees and winners of the night for all of the effort put into serving the best food around Orange County. My thanks to all the sponsors and vendors present for showing us all a good time and spoiling us with food and drink! Thank you to Duc Duong for capturing the night in such beautiful shots and helping me throughout the event. It was such a pleasure to see everyone (Austin, Anne, Anne Marie, Mona, Bobby, Rico, Michael) and meet others (Silvia, Ed, Selena, April, Oscar, Andy, Talia, Margaret, Pat)! We took more pictures than I can put up on the blog so please visit the Flickr page to see the rest! If you need the high-res images, don't hesitate to shoot me an email at minerva@muchadoaboutfooding.com.

The winners were:
For a full list of nominees, click here.

Don't forget to see ALL the pictures we took for the night by clicking here!



  1. Wow. What fun Minerva! How can I be a part of this next year? So exciting!

    1. Hey Trevor! It was very fun and exciting - you can see more info at their site www.goldenfoodieawards.com. This year's event is at the same location at the Fairmont Newport Beach on 9/29/13. Not sure if tickets are available just yet but it's always fun to see who the upcoming restaurants are.