Beyond the midway: 2017 OC Fair goes gourmet

COSTA MESA – Farm to fork. Artisan crafted. Locally made. Small batch. These words don’t just define a food revolution, they hint at what you’ll find in the culinary exhibits and demonstrations at the 2017 OC Fair.

Steal away from the midway for a little while to discover artisans who bring the “Farm Fresh Fun” theme to life. Taste award-winning California olive oil. Sample locally made kombucha. Learn how butchers, bakers and local booze makers are changing the way things are crafted in Orange County and beyond.

The culinary team at OC Fair & Event Center has curated a lineup that showcases top local chefs, TV celebrities, cookbook authors and local businesses to help Fairgoers get a taste of what that food revolution is like.

Let’s take a look at what and who you’ll find at the Fair in the OC Promenade Culinary Arts Building:

Pies: Karen Uyeda is a passionate fair attendee and previous OC Fair Blue-Ribbon Winner for her pies. She launched Sweetcie Pie and her business has flourished. Learn her pie-making secrets. July 19, 3 p.m.

Spirits: Brian and Robin Christenson launched the very first craft distillery in Orange County, Blinking Owl. These locavores and grain nerds will teach how they mill, ferment and distill barrel aged whisky and more. They have a great local story to tell. July 22, 3 p.m.

Paella: Junior chef Isabella Vegh is a member of 4-H and a previous triple Best of Class Winner in Preserved Foods and Winner of the Youth Spam Competition. Isabella will demonstrate how to make authentic Paella Valencia. July 20, 5 p.m.

Butchery: Chef Noah Blom of ARC Restaurant, Restaurant Marin and The Guild will give a primal cut butchery demonstration and he’ll share his best tips. Aug. 2, 5 p.m.

Meat: Executive Chef Melissa Cortina, of Bavette’s Meats and Provisions, attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and learned at the hands of master Italian butchers. She will answer questions about buying, using and preparing meat. Aug. 13, 5 p.m.

Bread: Cortina will be joined by former Blue Man Group performer Don Kohler who will demonstrate how to make unique Icelandic geothermal rye bread in your home kitchen. Kohler is now star of Hallmark Channel’s The Home & Family Show. Aug. 13, 5 p.m.

Beer: The first and only non-GMO, vegan-friendly beer, Dr. Jekyll’s Craft Beer, is produced by Tom Costa, an avid home brewer of more than 25 year. Learn how to bring craft beer into the kitchen and onto the plate. Aug. 6, 3 p.m.

Fermented food: Fairgoers can learn about the health benefits of lacto-fermentation from Dr. Yasmine Mason of Fermentation Farm, and try a free sample of kombucha. Daily

Seasonal: Chef Ernie Alvarado, pictured above, of Urbana is bringing Farm Fresh Mexican-inspired dishes to the table. Find out how he has mastered the use of seasonal produce in his creations. July 22, 7 p.m.

Sweets: Chef Stéphane Tréand will showcase his incredible talents by creating a highly technical sugar sculptor showpiece. July 30, 5 p.m.

Produce: Robert Schueller of Melissa’s Produce is known as Produce Guru. Become one of his followers and increase your knowledge of fruit and vegetables. July 21, 2 and 4 p.m.

Here’s a list of featured culinary events and demonstrations.

The 2017 OC Fair is July 14 through Aug. 13 and will offer 23 days and nights of entertainment, food, rides, shopping, exhibits and more. The Fair is open Wednesdays through Fridays from noon to midnight, and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to midnight.

2017 OC Fair media guide: bit.ly/17ocfairmedia
2017 OC Fair promo photos: bit.ly/2OCFair17photos
Food photos: bit.ly/17ocfairfood
Promo videos: bit.ly/17ocfairpromovideos

Press credential requests: bit.ly/ocfairpress