Holy Guacamole!

By Ashley Schofield

The Farm Store did a little pre-Super Bowl preparation Saturday
when students and local community contestants perfected their best
guacamole – a game-day favorite – in the sixth annual Guacamole
Bowl.

“This year we’re rockin’ the guac,” said Maggie Crowley, a
third-year finance, real estate and law student and Farm Store
employee who worked at the event.

With only seven submissions, there was less than half the
competition from last year’s 20 or so entries; Chef Ernie Briones,
the bowl’s judge and a chef instructor from the Collins School,
sadly had less to taste.

“I enjoy eating avocados, that’s the best part,” Briones said
laughing. “I have been eating them since I was a kid.”

With a palette that has acquired a taste for the creamy
vegetable, Briones, who has been judging the competition for about
five years now, looked for a guacamole that successfully brought
out the taste of avocado.

“Avocado should be at the forefront, with all other ingredients
supporting that flavor,” he said. “It’s like chicken soup, you know
it’s chicken soup because it tastes like chicken, the other
ingredients just add [other flavors].”

The entries attempted achieving the tricky balance of not
overpowering the avocado, but diversifying the guacamole’s flavor
with different ingredients.

First place winner, “Mango Kissed Guac,” stood apart from the
typical by incorporating mango salsa to add an extra kicker of
flavor.

“I don’t normally select guacamoles that have fruit in them. I
like more of a pure guacamole,” Briones said. “But out of all of
them, the avocado was right there.”

Abel Torres, a recent graduate who prepared the dish, was
confident before the judging in his unusual, family-inspired
additive and very proud after his win.

“I feel good, like I have achieved something today,” he said. “I
have climbed my Mount Everest.”

Torres was successful by finding perfectly ripe avocados. He ran
into trouble at first when preparing his guacamole early that
morning because his avocados were “hard as apples,” so he ran over
to the Farm Store to pick ripe ones. He picked up some Fuerte
avocados, which are in season right now and ready for making
guacamole.

Briones said Fuerte avocados are very good guacamole avocados,
especially since they are grown locally.

“There is a difference in taste – in oil content, sweetness – it
is all different depending on what [variety of avocado] you are
using,” Briones said.

Torres was unsure what he was going to do with the winner’s
prize of a $75 Farm Store gift card. Second- and third-place
submissions were also awarded with gift cards of lesser values.

Torres seemed content just to beat his fourth-place finish last
year.

There were many returning submissions that were out for a win
this year.

Loretta Villanueva, Instructional & Information Technology’s
administrative support coordinator, served up some fierce
competition, improving her recipe from last year by adding more
salt, which was its previous downfall.

“I brushed my teeth before I tried it last year and it wasn’t
salty enough,” Villanueva said. “The trick this year was not to
brush your teeth.”

Villanueva took second place with her “Mom’s Guacamole,” once
again a family-inspired concoction, which was spiced up with a
touch of garlic.

Garlic seemed to be a successful flavoring, as “Gloriously
Garlicky Guacamole” took third.

Roxanne Stewart, a second-year architecture student, used
habanero salsa as her secret, but unfortunately the chili was too
overpowering.

“I just did it for fun,” she said.

Balance was definitely the key, according to Briones. Taste,
texture, flavor and acidity are the main components in making a
well-rounded guacamole. Each was judged on a scale of one to
five.

The judging started at 12 p.m. and lasted about 45 minutes, as
Briones went back and forth, slowly tasting each guacamole multiple
times over. Onlookers circled the chef in anticipation, whispering
what they thought each of his gestures meant.

Kenneth Emerson, a third-year biotechnology student, was one in
the crowd of about 30 carefully eyeing Briones.

“I saw the e-mail and thought I would check it out,” said
Emerson. “I’m a big guacamole fan.”

After the judging was done and the winners were announced, the
crowd dug into the various guacamoles.

The Farm Store hosted the event as a marketing technique to
showcase its avocado varieties. The store is carrying about five
different types in season, and the 4-inch Daily 11 variety avocados
were the most impressive.

The Farm Store hopes the Guacamole Bowl will become even more
popular, especially among students.

“I feel this event is one of the best events we have going
besides the Pumpkin Festival,” said Kenny Hostetler, weekend
manager of the Farm Store and a fourth-year civil engineering
student. “I think it has a lot of potential to be like the Pumpkin
Festival.”

Hostetler, whose father, Dan, is the general manager of the
store, has been around the Farm Store a long time and said the
Pumpkin Festival also had a slow start in its crowd retention. Dan
Hostetler is the original creator of the Guacamole Bowl, and Kenny
Hostetler said they have many more ideas in mind to improve the
Farm Store’s recognition.

“We are going into our seventh year here, and not many people
know about the Farm Store,” Kenny Hostetler said. “I can’t believe
it.”

Kenny Hostetler said he has ideas to beat world records,
including striving for the world’s biggest guacamole bowl.

Holy Guacamole!

Brandon Tan/Poly Post

Holy Guacamole!

Holy Guacamole!

Brandon Tan/Poly Post

Holy Guacamole!

Holy Guacamole!

Brandon Tan/Poly Post

Holy Guacamole!

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