POKS Spices: Zest Fest 2021 - 2 Award Wins
After a 4 year hiatus from the annual Zest Fest held at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas, TX, POKS Spices took part in the 2021 event. Zest Fest is "one of the largest culinary events which celebrates zesty eats and spicy products". It is produced by Spicy Food Productions and usually takes place in the last week of January. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was held from June 4th through June sixth this year.
A part of the Zest Fest activities is the Fiery Food Challenge, where cpg products can be entered into categories spanning from Barbecue Sauces, Condiments, Hot Sauces, Salsas, Snacks, Cook-Off Food, New Product Consumer Ready Food, New Product Cook-Off and Marketing for judging. This challenge culminates in an Awards Banquet held on Friday evening, the first day of the event. Per Spicy Food Productions, "the judging panel will be made up of food industry professionals, including chefs, restaurant owners, culinary instructors, restaurant owners, culinary instructors, food writers, food manufacturers not entered in the contest, and other industry leaders and professionals."
In 2017, the POKS Spices Extra Spicy Cayenne-Based Seasoning won 2nd place in the Cook-Off Food: Dry Seasoning/Rub Pork Category. In 2019, the same product won 2nd place in the Cook-Off Food: Dry Seasoning/Rub Beef Category.
This year, the POKS Spices Original Spicy Cayenne-Based Seasoning won 1st place (Golden Chile Award) in the Cook-Off Food: Dry Seasoning/Rub Pork Category. In addition to this win, the same product won the Best Cook-Off Product. This second win is big, because it indicates that the Original Spicy Cayenne-Based Seasoning was the best Cook-Off product in the Cook-Off Food Category, which has 17 sub-categories, which has industry leaders and big names entering their products in. To be adjudged the best in the category, which in our case was the Cook-Off Category, meant the POKS Spices Original Spicy Cayenne-Based Seasoning had the the overall highest score in each that category.
We were completely overwhelmed to hear that we had won the category, but humbled that our quest to bring authentic West African Seasonings to the American homecook, has gotten external validation and recognition. Enjoy these pictures from the Zest Fest 2021.