Ventura County

Berry blast off recipe contest begins

Five finalists create strawberry dishes for first round of judging

OXNARD, Calif. - A cooking contest held Tuesday is a mouth-watering reminder that the 30th  Anniversary California Strawberry Festival is less than two weeks away.

The "Berry Blast Off" recipe contest put five chefs to the test in the chef's kitchen at the newly remodeled Courtyard by Marriott in Oxnard.

Larissa Nelson of Fillmore made Oxnard Strawberry Coconut No-Bake Tiramisu.

Tyler Deltoro came all the way from Sun Valley, Idaho with his mother cheering him on.

Debbie Deltoro won the event two decades ago. She watched her son make Berry Buoy Croquettes  Floating in a Red Tide Sauce.

Michael Cohen of Los Angeles made Strawberry Risotto with Basil, Pine Nuts, and Balsamic Reduction.

Mark Slack of Simi Valley made Strawberry Sweet and Spicy Lettuce Wraps.  Winona Krieger of Agoura Hills made Strawberry Brulee.

The judges included Anne Kallas from the Ventura County Star and Jyll Everman, a former Food Network Star finalist.

Judges gave points for best taste, flavor, texture and presentation.

Larissa Nelson and Winona Krieger have competed before, and their dishes won over the judges.  They will compete for a grand prize cruise on the first day of the festival, Saturday, May 18th at the Festival's Strawberry Promenade.

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