Sunday, October 26, 2014


 The Irving Convention Center is Proud to Again Host the  ZestFest Spicy Food Festival for the 13th Installment of What Has Become THE Food Event for Tens of Thousands of Annual Attendees in Search of Great Taste Adventures.

(Irving, TX) – The ZestFest Spicy Food Festival is back at the Irving Convention Center, outside of Dallas, Texas.  ZestFest is the mecca for all things flavorful, spicy, hot, extreme, and just plain “zesty delicious”.  From sauces to salsas, recipes to remedies, the whole ZestFest experience is built around the idea that “if it makes food taste great, then it must be good”.  The spicy experience is served up by the best spicy food producers and manufacturers in the country along with a cadre of top restaurateurs and celebrity chefs.   

ZestFest produced by Spicy Food Productions and presented by NBC and The Dallas Morning News, has steadily grown from a niche gathering to a national event, as a result of the enthusiastic and skilled leadership of ZestFest owner Greg Bagarozy.   Bagarozy stated, “this show is a big hit because each year our exhibitors surprise us with such great flavor and culinary creativity.”   

This year Mr. Bagarozy has invited Sarah Penrod, recently featured on the Food Networks’ “Next Food Network Star”, to be a guest chef and special spokesperson for ZestFest 2015.  Sarah will bring her “Lone Star Style” to the Celebrity Chef Stage where she will feature some of this year’s Fiery Food Challenge Winners in the food she prepares.  This will be a first for the nineteen year old Fiery Food Challenge.  Having a nationally known chef like Sarah feature some of the winners in the food she prepares live on stage will give a great brand building opportunity to those products.     

Besides Ms. Penrod, there will be plenty of action on The Celebrity Chef Stage through the weekend.  Sarah will be joined by some of the country’s top chefs conducting fully interactive cooking demonstrations with plenty of tastings to share with the crowd.  This year’s culinary stars include top chefs John Bonnell, Eduardo Alvarez, John Frank, Enam Chowdhury showing off the skills that have made them renowned in their field.   

There will also be a special Saturday Night extra session from 6pm – 8pm.  Dinner at ZestFest” will treat attendees to a Pig and Rib Roast hosted by master chef and BBQ King, Eddie Deen, that will treat attendees to a great diner and a couple of beers for $15.            

The 2015 ZestFest Weekend will start on Friday, January 23th at 1pm and run thru Sunday, January 25th (times available at www.zestfest.HYPERLINK ""2015HYPERLINK "".com).  Live music and continuous demonstrations and exhibits throughout the weekend will make it a great weekend for everyone.  Back for 2015, will be the very popular “Wingstop Atomic Wings Eating Contest” and the Peoples Preference Awards.   Tickets are currently on sale at the aforementioned website and the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas box office. Price of admission covers all exhibits, competitions, and entertainment with the exception of the Big Eddie Dean BBQ on Saturday Night.  For the regular sessions, children under 10 are admitted free with a paid adult ticket.  Bring the family, come in from the cold, and prepare to taste some of the hottest and most flavorful foods from around the globe.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sarah Penrod to add some Heat to Fiery Food Challenge

Attention Fiery Food Challenge Contenders - New Feature for Some of the Winners at ZestFest 2015!

Show producer, Greg Bagarozy has announced that the very popular up and coming star chef, Sarah Penrod will be a star of ZestFest 2015 and will be one of the Celebrity Chefs on the big cooking stage.  Sarah was recently featured on the Food Networks “Next Food Network Star”.  Besides acting as a special spokesperson for ZestFest for the 2015 show, Sarah will put the spotlight on some of the Fiery Food Challenge Winners by adding their heat to some special dishes she will cook up on the Celebrity Chef Stage. 

Sarah Penrod was born and raised in North Texas. She grew up on the stage performing in musical theater and singing country music. At 23 she left the world of entertainment to pursue her first love - cooking.

Sarah graduated from Scottsdale Culinary Institute in 2008 and hightailed it back to Texas, sharpening her skills at the opulent 4-star restaurants on the Riverwalk in San Antonio.  Within a year Sarah had become a celebrated South Texas private chef. Her clients included Eva Longoria, Tony Parker, Lyle Lovitt, Vicki Carr and the San Antonio Spurs.  During this time, Sarah hosted cooking segments on Great Day San Antonio, and headlined Food and Wine shows in the Texas Hill Country.

Sarah was invited to the White House for the launch of Chefs Move to Schools in 2010 and joined First Lady Michelle Obama’s fight to end childhood obesity.  Sarah is considered the “Hill Country Ambassador” encouraging other chefs to partner with school districts to bring about nutritional change and education in the school lunch program.

Sarah produced and hosted a local travel food show, Let’s Eat Houston - aimed at informing the wave of new Houstonians moving to the area where to get the best underground eats! 

In 2013   Sarah was invited by Food Network to be one of the 12 finalists on Season Ten of its hit show - Food Network Star. 


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Here's something you'll like - Artisan Spice Blends from Sally Koepke and Mom's Gourmet

WELCOME to Sally Koepke and Mom's Gourmet to the ZestFest family of delicious product lines...

 Forbidden City Salad – Vegan, Vegetarian, Omnivores!

This came from my good friend Kim. She is always cooking up something delicious. This salad is fabulous, especially on a hot, summer day. Great for taking to a gathering as nothing in this recipe can spoil.  This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from
Ingredients – this recipe includes peanuts so leave them out if you are allergic to themBlack Rice peanut mango and orange salad
  • 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup (or more) fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons Far Out Feather Dust
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups black rice (preferably Lotus Foods Forbidden Rice)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 just-ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2? dice
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion (about 1/2 large onion)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapeƱos, seeded, minced
  1. Remove peel and white pith from oranges.
  2. Working over a medium bowl to catch juices and using a small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release orange segments into bowl.
  3. Squeeze membranes over bowl to release any juices.
  4. Strain juices through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl; reserve orange segments.
  5. Add 1/4 cup lime juice, oil, and fish sauce (if using) to bowl with orange juice; whisk to blend.
  6. Set dressing aside.
  7. Bring rice and 2 3/4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan.
  8. Season lightly with salt.
  9. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 25 minutes.
  10. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes.
  11. Spread out rice on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with dressing, and season lightly with salt; let cool.
  12. Place mangoes and remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  13. Add rice and toss gently to combine. Season lightly with salt and more lime juice, if desired.