Zestfest Midwest 2013: On Stage with Mike Isenberg from Wicked Cactus Sauces

Mike from Wicked Cactus holds his Feast Your Eyes on This trophy

Right after I handed Mike Isenberg his Feast Your Eyes on This Spicy Cooking Challenge trophy at Zestfest Midwest, Mike entertained the crowd with a little of his cooking prowess. Showing a little of what him shine in our video contest, Mike shined on the main stage with a simple yet delicious chicken taco recipe. One of the bright moments from the Zestfest Midwest event shared with you now. Check it out and support Mike by checking out the Wicked Cactus Sauces website for some of the best hot sauces in your community.

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Feast Your Eyes on This Spicy Cooking Challenge 2013 Champion

Champion

Here we are ready to announce this year’s champion of our weekly spicy cooking contest. With so much at stake, it is never easy telling someone they didn’t win. This group of 8 contestants are arguably our best set we have had in the 3 years of doing these challenges. I want to thank them all for putting in all their time and showing off their spicy cooking prowess in our ever-growing community. This contest is far from perfect, but I hope we presented an entertaining enough format for people to enjoy, and for our combatants to feel comfortable in. We can’t make everyone happy because there can only be one champion, but everyone of our contestants deserve all the accolades they can get for bringing this contest to new heights with such delicious, mouth-watering spicy recipes. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving your all this year. Please give them all your support and go and visit their websites and show them your love and buy their great products.

To continue our thanks I have to really praise the great sponsors who let me organize a prize package valued over $3,000. For a small blog like mine that means I have a lot of great friends who really care. The overall winner of Feast Your Eyes on This Spicy Cooking Challenge will receive a free vendor booth from both the Houston Hot Sauce Festival & Zestfest Midwest. Plus, Chile Pepper Magazine will give an advertising package valued at over $2000. Cash prizes will also be awarded by Endorphin Farms & Refining Fire Chiles. Together, 1st place will receive an additional $300, the runner-up $150, and 3rd place $100. Plus, on top of all that good stuff, they will get one big ass trophy from yours truly. Without these awesome sponsors we would have no contest.

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Feast Your Eyes on This Spicy Cooking Challenge 2013- Contestant Videos The Finals

Round 6 The Final Contestant Videos

Here we are in week 6 of our spicy cooking contest. We started with 8 contestants and have narrowed it down to the final 3. We want to congratulate Jennifer, Mike and Kevin for making it this far. Hopefully they brought their best and will make it very hard on our judges. As you will see with the prizes listed below, everyone is guaranteed at least $100. To be totally cliche here, there can only be one winner and to the winner goes the spoils. There is a lot riding on this contest, so I went and brought back our infamous judge from the last 2 FYEOT, CaJohn Hard to complete our 6 person panel. This is a man that knows something about winning contests.

Final Challenge

We wanted to create some twists in the last round to bring out their creativity. We told our contestants to make 3 dishes that would take traditional cuisine and not only make it spicy, but would also cross over to a completely different ethnicity. So our 3 dishes are:
1- Take an American favorite and put an International spin on it;
2- Take an International Dish and put an American spin on it;
3- Lastly take a popular International favorite and put another International twist on it.
NOTE: They will have 15 minutes to create their video. Both Mike and Jennifer were each a few minutes late with their videos and the judges will subtract 1/2 point from their rules portion of their score.

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Feast Your Eyes on This Spicy Cooking Challenge 2013- Round 6 (THE FINALS)

Round 6 The Finals

We enter forth onto the final combat kitchen arena with our 3 remaining contestants. Who will it be? You must watch the video below and find out. The last challenge lay within as well. It is 15 minutes of video footage that stands between them and the finishing line. How they go about their recipes and convey it, is everything in this last stage of the spicy cooking challenge. They are all guaranteed to get at least $100 just by making it this far. That is not their goal though. They want the brass ring. We wish them luck, and hope they make it very tough on our judges. We even brought back our friend, CaJohn Hard to judge the final round as he has done over the last 2 years.

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Feast Your Eyes on This Spicy Cooking Challenge 2013- Round 5 Contestant Videos

Round 5 Contestant Videos

This round is sponsored by Heartbreaking Dawns
hbd mask

Heartbreaking Dawns has brought the ultimate assortment of Award Winning products to the industry. With a variety of products ranging from dry rubs, grilling sauces, spicy preserves and of course hot sauce, they’ve been cranking out nothing but hits! If you haven’t tried their products yet, some of the must haves are the original Fiery Trail Preserves, the 1498 Scorpion Sauce and the Original Classic Gold. This year they are breaking into onsite food, with a pop-Up Baltimore Pit Beef venture exclusively at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg event. If you are attending the NYC Hot Sauce Expo, this is right next door and Johnny is planning a Chilehead’s Dream Sandwich Special for that weekend. Head on over to their website by clicking on the picture above and use the code “hbdfan” for 20% off your order!

Round 5 Challenge

The final 4 contestants had 2 make a sandwich and a wrap this round. One had to be cold, whilst the other had to be hot with no preference to which one they chose. One also had to use 3 proteins inside. Lastly, they could not use olives or bleu cheese at all. We also asked them to tell us a little about why they chose what they chose. A little background never hurts in the recipe. It gets us a little closer to our spicy recipe makers.

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Feast Your Eyes on This Spicy Cooking Challenge 2013- Round 4

Round 4

We are now down to the final 5 as we say goodbye to one of our contestants in the video below. This was one of the best produced recipe challenges we ever had, but it was also the most confusing one too. That I take the blame for and must apologize to our contestants, the judges, and our loyal fans for making it so complex. Even with the issues the video recipes were off the hook. Now we move onto Round 4 and I think this is going to be a very fun challenge. The contestants are giving a HUGE choice to make, and it will be interesting which road they choose. Our sponsor for this round is once again TATS Sauces & Marinades. They are running a special during the contest for you all. Buy any 2 products and they will give a FREE Bottle of their 6 Feet Under hot sauce by typing the word “Nancyboy” in the comments area at checkout. Thanks to Derek and Shauna Jellsey for their double sponsorship with us. Click on the banner below to get you some TATS!
TATS 6 Feet Under

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Feast Your Eyes on This Spicy Cooking Challenge 2013- Round 2 Contestant Videos

Round 2 Contestant Videos

This Round is sponsored by Cajun Heat
Cajun Heat

Round 2 is being sponsored by our 2011 Feast Your Eyes on This Spicy Cooking Champion, Clement Bourg of Cajun Heat. He will be a guest judge and give a $50 gift card to the winner of this round. Winner of 2012 Golden Chile Award for Best New Product at Zestfest, Best BBQ Sauce of 2012 from ScottRobertsWeb.com and winner of ILIS’ Lenny Award for Best Product of the Year for 2012, Cajun Heat’s C’est Bon Cajun-Q is a product you need to experience. It is special when the bloggers and the industry both agree on what the best products are, and we got it right this time. Check out this BBQ sauce and more award winning Cajun-style products by clicking on the Cajun Heat picture above. I would also like to give a big thank you for the surprise video studio in a box that Clement bestowed upon me Saturday afternoon. I imagine once I open it up, my video production value will immensely improve. Too bad I can’t get a more charismatic persona to take my place. 😀 Thank you much Clement for being more than a friend to yours truly.

Round 2 Challenge:

Refining Fire Chiles sent all the contestants a couple of dried Jay’s Peach Ghost Scorpion Chile Peppers. They had to use these super hot chile peppers in a pasta dish of some kind and add something green for St Patrick’s Day. They did not have to make the dish green, they just had to use something whether it was an herb, vegetable or some moldy cheese. They all had 6 minutes in which to make their video, accept for Sam who by winning round 1 gets to have an additional 2 minutes added to his video if he so chooses. Thanks to Jim Duffy for sending the chiles to our contestants. I hope they can handle the heat.

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Feast Your Eyes on This Spicy Cooking Challenge 2013- Round 2

Round 2

We are back again with Round 2 of our spicy cooking contest. The video below has the newest challenge for our contestants as we whittle down from 8 to 7 with the results of Round 1, our pepper jelly challenge. I will also announce the winner who will get a bonus for this new challenge round, and the loser who will no longer be part of the contest. Round 2 is being sponsored by our 2011 Feast Your Eyes on This Spicy Cooking Champion, Clement Bourg of Cajun Heat. He will be a guest judge and give a $50 gift card to the winner of this round.
cajun-heat

The overall winner of Feast Your Eyes on This Spicy Cooking Challenge will receive a free vendor booths from both the Houston Hot Sauce Festival & Zestfest Midwest. Plus, Chile Pepper Magazine will give an advertising package valued at over $2000. Cash prizes will also be awarded by Endorphin Farms & Refining Fire Chiles. Together, 1st place will receive an additional $300, the runner-up $150, and 3rd place $100. Plus, on top of all that good stuff, they will get one big ass trophy from yours truly. I thank all our great sponsors for their contributions to this spicy cooking challenge. Without them we would have no contest.

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Feast Your Eyes on This Spicy Cooking Challenge 2013- Round 1

Round 1

Here we are again with our 3rd annual spicy cooking challenge. We are kicking things off with a Round 1 sponsor who was also last year’s winner, Shauna Jellsey of Tats Sauces & Marinades. Shauna along with her hubby Derek will guest judge this round along with our other special judging panel. Representing some of our sponsors, these judges are Sir McMillan from Chile Pepper Magazine, Carol Borge from the Houston Hot Sauce Festival and Greg Bagarozy from Zestfest Midwest. Adding to that mix will be our bloggers extraordinaire, Firehead Thomas and Scott Roberts. Together they make a very educated group of spicy aficionados.

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THE CONTESTANTS – 2013 Feast Your Eyes on This Spicy Cooking Challenge

contestant videos

Yes we are back for our 3rd go around in this spicy cooking contest. We have 8 new spicy product makers raring to go and show us their fiery talents in the kitchen. We have more sponsorship than we have had in the previous 2 years with a value of over $3000! Can I get a woo-hoo?! So what exactly is this Feast Your Eyes on This Spicy Cooking Challenge(FYEOT)? Every Wednesday starting March 6th at 9am est, and all the way through April 17th, we will be giving a spicy challenge to our contestants. We will post their cooking videos Sunday mornings at 9am est as well. Our special judges will send me their results and we will reward a sponsored $50 prize to the winner of that round on the next Wednesday announcement video and a special bonus for the next challenge as well. The worst video result will get booted out of the contest. We will announce the winner on April 17th and we will laud them with much fanfare and prizes.

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Are you a good cook? Feast Your Eyes on This Season 3 is looking for U!

It is time to toss your hat into the ring if you are a spicy product maker who is looking to get their name out there and get some cool prizes along the way. Carol Borge, the promoter for the Houston Hot Sauce Festival is coming back again with a free booth and we are promising you much more in prizes than that. If you think you are good enough of a spicy cook and not camera shy in sharing your recipe expertise, then this challenge is for you. The contest will kick off the 1st Wednesday after the Fiery Food Show, March 6, 2013. It will run 6 weeks and the winner will be announced on Wednesday, April 17th, days before the NYC Fiery Food Show.

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