Last Saturday, November 19th was a foodie paradise at SoCo Farmers’ Market at The OC Mart Mix / SoCo Collection in Costa Mesa, California.  The market played host to the second Farm to Food Truck Challenge – the exciting event where six gourmet food trucks compete for the title of ‘Top Chop Truck’ by creating delicious dishes using ingredients gathered from the farmers’ market. Their dishes are evaluated by a panel of culinary-expert judges in front of a live audience and a winner is crowned.  It was a fantastic day of gourmet mobile cuisine, organic farmers’ market produce, live music and friendly, enthusiastic crowds. Who could ask for more?!

As you’ve seen here on the Anne Watson Photo Blog over the past few weeks during our ‘Meet the Competitors’ series, each of the six competition trucks has their own unique style.  Battling for the ‘Top Chop Truck’ title were Seabirds (gourmet, 100% plant-based vegan cuisine), SlapFish (simple, fresh & delicious sustainable seafood), Taco Maria (‘Chicano Cuisine’ – a blend of old & new Mexico), Home Skillet Truck (the seasonal modern American kitchen), Piaggio Gourmet on Wheels (Orange County’s only Argentine food truck) and The Flip Truck (all-natural gourmet sliders). With this variety and breath of culinary styles covered, we knew it would be an exciting competition!

From Left:  Chef Coli Piaggio of Piaggio Gourmet on Wheels; Chef Heidi Barrette of The Flip Truck; Chef Andrew Gruel of SlapFish; Chef Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria; Chef Christie Morisoli of Home Skillet Truck; Chef Stephanie Morgan of Seabirds

Below is a visual tour-through-photos of the day – including some behind-the-scenes action and, of course, plenty of Anne Watson Photography food photos.

And, if you like what you see, then be sure to head out to the SoCo Farmers’ Market today – November 26th – from 9am – 2pm.  There will be plenty of amazing food trucks on-hand, including this round’s ‘Top Chop Truck’, SlapFish, who will be serving their winning dish, the ‘Flight of Seafood’, and will even be sharing their secret recipe.  Hope to see you all there – today and every Saturday at SoCo Farmers’ Market from 9am – 2pm for gourmet food truck action and plenty of fresh, seasonal organic farm-fresh produce!

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The girls of Costa Mesa High School Cheer help collect donations for the Someone Cares Soup Kitchen food drive
A little something for your sweet tooth by Waffles de Liege
And, for those with a salty palette, perfectly-crisped fries from The Flip Truck
Live music sets the mood
Even the canine audience members were having a great time!
The entire Costa Mesa High School Cheer Squad was out, showing their support!
And, they’re off! The competition begins as the chefs race through the farmers’ market to collect their fresh ingredients
Prepping Brussels Sprouts in the Taco Maria Kitchen
Chef Carlos of Taco Maria, chopping fresh Leeks and perfecting his recipe
Behind-the-scenes with Chef Heidi and the ladies of The Flip Truck
Chef Heidi, prepping farm-fresh leeks in the Flip Truck kitchen
Julie, workin’ her magic on the Flip Truck grill
The Flip truck kitchen in action – Home of really, really good sliders
Chef Christie of the Home Skillet truck, preparing a super-fresh arugula-almond pesto
Behind-the-scenes with Eddie and Christie in the Home Skillet Truck kitchen
Eddie Salcedo of the Home Skillet Truck chopping local black apples from the market
The crowds gather as expert foodie, Bobby Navarro of 100eats100days narrates the action
The Judges, from Left: Chef Bridget Bueche of Fixtures Living; Dave Lieberman of OC Weekly; Chris Miller – Local Foodie / Contest Winner; Michael Harris of Mesa & Detroit bar; Gustavo Arellano of OC Weekly; Chef Laurent Brazier of Laguna Culinary Arts
Anais Tangie delivers the first dish by SlapFish – let the judging begin!
Left: the judges dig in!;  Right: Local foodie & expert blogger, Sukhraj Beasla of Eat Suki Eat
Anais Tangie delivers dish #3 by the Home Skillet Truck
Stephanie Morgan of Seabirds looks on as her dish is delivered to the judges

Seabirds’ delicious vegan dish is delivered to the judges
Chef Laurent Brazier of Laguna Culinary Arts
The chefs look on as the judging takes place. Left: Chef Heidi of The Flip Truck; Center: Chef Carlos of Taco Maria & Chef Coli of Piaggio; Right: Chef Stephanie of Seabirds
Left: Chef Bridget Bueche of Fixtures Living;  Right: Michael Harris of Mesa & Detroit Bar
Left: Gustavo Arellano of OC Weekly evaluates;  Right: Costa Mesa Cheerleaders look on in anticipation
The Costa Mesa High School Cheer Squad root for the winner




Chef Andrew Gruel accepts First Place and the title of Top Chop Truck for his ‘Flight of Seafood’ dish: Lobster Doughnut with apple & leek, Seared Scallop with almond butter & brussel leaf salad, and Black Cod with a beet & carrot slaw