Friday, July 27, 2012

Four Local Food Businesses Win Local Forager Contest

The winners: Rice Paper Scissors, Little Red Dot Kitchen,
Mozzeria, and Banh Mi Love You Long Time
The top vote getters of the 2012 San Francisco Street Food Festival Local Forager contest were announced Thursday evening, and San Francisco's favorite small food startup is Little Red Dot Kitchen. The South Bay Malaysian and Singaporean vendor specializes in Bak Kua, which they describe as "Southeast Asian charcuterie."

Joining Little Red Dot Kitchen at the San Francisco Street Food Festival in the Mission on August 18th will be Mozzeria, the San Francisco restaurant that according to La Cocina Executive Director Caleb Zigas "came from out of nowhere" to end up in the top four. Rounding out the winners, and providing a decidedly Southeast Asian flavor to the foursome, are Vietnamese punmeisters Banh Mi Love You Long Time and pop-up specialists Rice Paper Scissors. All four will get to introduce their food to hungry festival patrons in free booth space, receive complimentary prep time in La Cocina's kitchen, and get advice and logistical support from La Cocina and Whole Foods Market. The winners will be selling one item each, and maybe Rice Paper Scissors will even bust out their Justin Bieber parody.

Sabores del Sur's Guisell Osorio, one of over 75 vendors at the festival

This year's contest is sponsored by Whole Foods Market. As part of their commitment to discovering and promoting such local small food businesses as Three Twins Ice Cream and Love and Hummuswho currently sell their products at Whole Foodsthe contest was limited to Bay Area businesses only. Despite this limitation, over 50 food startups competed, and fewer than 100 votes separated first and second place.

La Cocina's Caleb Zigas
Two blocks larger than the 2011 version, this year's festival will bring together over 75 home cooks, Michelin star chefs, out of town guest vendors, and La Cocina graduates. Zigas anticipates that up to 80,000 people could visit the festival, but congestion will be addressed by wider spacing between the booths and a mobile phone app that will help diners plan their day. For a more intimate experience, the event will kick off with the first ever San Francisco Night Market at the Alemany Farmer's Market on August 17th. Reminiscent of the street food markets of Asia and Mexico, there will be no tents or stalls at the $25 event, just vendors and food in a warm, low-key atmosphere that will be "the kind of event we've always wanted to put on," said Zigas. The 2012 San Francisco Street Food Festival concludes with a two-day Food & Entrepreneurship Conference on August 19th and 20th, focusing on the economics, anthropology, and social science of street food.

While entrance to the 2012 San Francisco Street Food Festival itself is free, discount passports provide added value in the form of "street dollars" and drink tokens. Passports, tickets for the San Francisco Night Market, and entrance to the Food & Entrepreneurship Conference are available online.

San Francisco Street Food Festival (@streetfoodsf)
La Cocina (@lacocinasf)
Little Red Dot Kitchen (@reddotkitchen)
Mozzeria (@mozzeriasf)
Banh Mi Love You Long Time (@eatbanhmi)
Rice Paper Scissors (@ricepapersf)

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