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Fun Times at Inaugural Nashville Street Food Awards

This past Saturday, September 1, 2012 from 11 AM to 6 PM, the Nashville Food Truck Association held the Inaugural Nashville Street Food Awards at Centennial Park.  To say that this event was a success is an understatement.  Every truck had lengthy lines.  The rain held off.  It was an all around Food Truck Junkie’s dream.

I can’t say enough how much of an honor it was to be invited to be a judge for this event.  I was in the first group of judges with fellow foodies!  There were 6 of us and we were going to judge the Best Drink, Best Vegetarian, and Best Taco categories.

Much like a BBQ competition, the food trucks had set deadlines that they needed to turn in their food entries to enter a category.  And it was very strict.  If you were even a minute late, you were unable to enter your food.  We did hear of one truck that missed the deadline by less than a minute.

The judges were to judge based on Presentation, Taste, and Overall Impression of the dish.  It was a scale from 1-10 (1 being worst, 10 being best) and going out 1 decimal place if needed.

The entries were blind.  We, as judges, were brought a white styrofoam container.  On the lid it had a number and then their entry.  We had no idea who brought what or who entered.  The turn in table was outside the judge’s tent so we could not even see who was walking up.  I have to admit that I enjoy the blind judging.  It’s not a popularity contest and it allows the trucks to really show what they can do culinarily speaking.

We had some foods that were AMAZING.  We had some foods that were very interesting in flavor.  And we had foods that were beautifully presented.  It was so interesting to see what we got, because a lot of what we ate and saw are NOT items the trucks have on their menu or were even offering on Saturday to the general public.  So it was even more of a perk to be a judge.  Because what I got to taste wasn’t necessarily what everyone else got to taste.

I’ve got quite a lot of pictures.  So I’m going to break it up into several different posts for each category.  But here is a little teaser:

It was a truly wonderful day.  The only thing I will say is the trucks did not have as many smaller taster portions as perhaps I had expected.  I wished that the trucks would have had more smaller portions sizes for the day.  But after judging, I really didn’t have room for much else.  I did have room for Riff’s “Salty Cod Fritters” though which were featured on Cooking Channel’s Eat St.  Glad that Carlos brought these back for the Street Food Awards!!!

Check back later this week for my recaps on the Best Drink, Best Vegetarian, and Best Taco Categories!

-FTJ Julie

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