The 2019 Taste of Texas Food Show was a huge success with most of the top winners being first timers or competing against family members.
Berry Best of Show & Grand Champion Adult – Nathaniel & Leigh Ann Gonzales
There’s nothing like a little bit of competition between two family members, especially between a mother and son in baking.
“Nathaniel’s interest in baking started with me. When he was a kid, we would watch all of the cake shows together and he picked up on it really quick,” said Leigh Ann Gonzales, Nathaniel’s mom. “He first started by making fried pickles then went on from there.”
The mother/son duo conquered this year’s show with Nathaniel taking home the top prize of Berry Best of Show with his “Chocolate Covered Strawberry Blast” and Leigh Ann taking Grand Champion in the adult division with her “Tall, Dark and Handsome” cake. This was Nathaniel’s second year to compete and his mom’s first.
Nathaniel’s mom stated the food show is all he talks about throughout the year as he is constantly thinking about what to make for the next year, experimenting in the kitchen.
“He really enjoys this program, it’s really great for him to interact with people and for us to bond,” said Leigh Ann, explaining that her son is in debate and he finds the show as a way to up his speaking skills. “He is a little reserved about the show because he’s a boy and he’s baking, but he’s really good at morphing recipes together and creating a delicious dish.”
Best of Show, Cheesecakes – Morgan Schultze
Morgan Schultze is a 10 year veteran of the TOT Food Show and it comes as no surprise that she won Best of Show Cheesecakes with her Cheesecake Factory Carrot Cake Cheesecake.
“My aunt, Ruth, helps with the show so she’s the one who really got me involved,” she said. “My mom is a really good baker so I’ve learned from her over the years.”
Morgan says she doesn’t venture too far from baking cakes, cupcakes and cheesecake and noted that baking makes her happy.
“It brings back memories from my childhood of cooking with my mom. I just love cooking the night before the show and then showing off my cake.”
She also noted that she loves participating in the show as it helps the community through the money raised.
“The money is raised for scholarships and with my part I put it toward my college fund.”
Best of Show, Jelly – Hailey Hannah
Hailey Hannah is on a roll with her Strawberry Jam as it has won Best of Show Jelly for the second year in a row at this year’s TOT Show.
“I like making stuff and that’s how I got started with the show,” she said.
Her winning jam is the best kept secret of her family with her mom, grandmother and greatgrandmother all making jam over the years.
“I like helping my mom make it,” said Hailey, who says her favorite part of the show is seeing what other participants have made for the show. “When it comes to making my jam, my favorite part is mixing all of the ingredients together.”
One ingredient Hailey didn’t mind sharing from her secret recipe is that she uses Poteet strawberries when she can.
“I love Poteet strawberries.”
Hailey sells her Strawberry Jam at the Jourdanton Farmers Market held each Saturday at 1103 Champion Dr. in Jourdanton, at the swimming pool parking lot.
Best of Show, Salsa – Analise Cruz
Who would have thought Strawberry Corn Salsa would be a hit?
This year was Analise Cruz’s third year participating in the TOT Food Show and her salsa won Best of Show Salsa.
“It’s sweet and spicy with bits of corn in it,” she said. The 8-year-old got her recipe from her grandma from whom she learned how to make salsa.
She loves mixing all of her ingredients together to create what she describes as “very delicious.”
“I use Poteet Strawberries, that’s what makes my salsa good.”
Grand Champion, Junior – Bridger Ross
Ringing in Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion in the junior division, Bridger Ross stole the show with his Strawberry Monkey Bread and Lemon Lime Pound Cake. This is his second year competing in the show.
“He’s not one to bake all the time, but his older sister has participated in the show and he’s likes to do what big sister does,” said mom, Denise Ross.
Bridger was also enticed by the auction and the opportunity to win money for his entries. His mom stated that with this year’s winnings, he put away part of it for college fund.
“He enjoys the idea of being successful and able to compete against others,” said Denise.
She also stated that he likes the idea of being one of the only male winners as majority of them are female most years.
“The experience he gets from competing is what he also really enjoys about the food show.”
Grand Champion, Pre-Teen – Angelina Ortiz
Eleven-year-old Angelina Ortiz was this year’s Grand Champion winner in the TOT Food Show Pre-Teen division with her Pavlova.
“This was my first year participating. I love to bake, it’s something I just enjoy doing,” she said.
Angelina’s recipe was not a family recipe, but one she enjoys making.
“I love baking cakes, pies, cheesecake and of course the pavlova because it so fun to make,” she said. “It not like all other desserts. It’s a meringue based cake with whipped cream on top and fruit.”
Her favorite part of the show is watching all of the judges going around tasting the different food entries.