Saturday, September 24, 2011

Who has the best cheese dip?

Posted By on Sat, Sep 24, 2011 at 5:15 PM

23 DIPS:  And the maker of the chips at the World Cheese Dip Competition.
  • Kat Robinson
  • 23 DIPS: And the maker of the chips at the World Cheese Dip Championship.

23 different cheese dips, 23 different tastes. Restaurants and amateur cooks showed off their best at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon, judges and the public cast their votes and a new World Cheese Dip Champion was named.

A surprise: this year's winner was Dogtown Coffee and Cookery. Open just a few months, Dogtown won the professional competition with a traditional yellow queso reminiscent of the original Mexico Chiquito dip that started our state's cheese dip tradition.

The amateur winner: the Concheeztadors, who took a local swing at a favorite and made a white queso infused with several different types of Arkansas grown peppers. This was also one of my personal favorites.

So, who competed? The dips, from left to right from the top:
1. Yellow queso with pork tenderloin from Nash Raley Rogers Rippy.
2. American Pie's white pepper-laced queso.
3. Basin Park's yellow smoky influenced Velveeta-style dip.
4. Cozymel's high-flavor yellow queso with cumin and onion flavor.
5. Jose's Mexican Grill and Cantina's mild and light green chili flavored queso.
6. Stoby's spicy, punchy house offered white queso.
7. Cabot Cheese's pecan and cumin infused Sharp White Cheddar dip (this went to judges; the crowd version was much more pale).
8. Yahoo's classic Velveeta and Rotel dip.
9. Ferneau's Lobster bisque-like Cheddar dip.
10. U.S. Pizza Company's Judy's White Cheese Dip, complete with green peppery bits.
11. Mitchell William's chili flavored yellow dip.
12. Moe's Southwest Grill's impossibly smooth and impossibly white queso.
13. Dogtown Coffee and Cookery's Mexico Chiquito's taste-alike.
14. Dizzy's Gypsy Bistro's onion-laden winning entry from last year.
15. Ben E. Keith's Philly Cheesesteak dip.
16. Team Roberts Spinach queso.
17. Mamma Chelle's cream-cheese and pimento flavored almost red dip.
18. Pizza D'Action's Beef Tenderloin queso, made up in small batches over a burner.
19. Meadors Adams' mild yellow dip.
20. Junior's Game Time runny yellow queso.
21. DD's chili powder and tomato packed red dip.
22. Bar Louie's almost bechemel-style yellow dip.
23. Concheestador's several pepper layered white queso.
24. Tortillas from La Mexicana, the official chip sponsor for the event.

So, which one did you like the best? And who won the other competitions? Find out — with photos — on the jump.

Boaz Cotton, Aiesha Parker-Hicks and Stephanie Nielson try some dip.
  • Leif Hassell
  • Boaz Cotton, Aiesha Parker-Hicks and Stephanie Nielson try some dip.
ITS A HARD JOB, BUT:  Kat doesnt mind doing it.
  • Leif Hassell
  • IT'S A HARD JOB, BUT: Kat doesn't mind doing it.
The Little Dipper awards (second place) went to Dizzy's Gypsy Bistro (last year's winner, they brought 30 gallons to make sure they didn't run out) on the professional level and Team Roberts with
Peyton Little Bit Thompson, age 4, digs his chip.
  • Leif Hassell
  • Peyton "Little Bit" Thompson, age 4, digs his chip.
their spinach queso for the amateurs. Both teams also won the People's Choice as well, likely because they never ran out of dip.

The Concheestadors had a pepper-infused white queso.
  • Leif Hassell
  • The Concheestadors had a pepper-infused white queso.
And that's the thing. This time around, organizers and participants were better prepared, brought more dip and had their game together. The first competitors to run out of dip still had enough to make it through the first couple of hours of the event. There was still cheese dip being served as the winners were being announced, nearly five hours after the gates were open.

Best use of meat in a dip went to the Balcony Restaurant

JUDGING:  Shea Stewart from Sync, Riverfest Executive Director DeAnn Korte, Rosemary Boggs from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Todays THVs Ashley Blackstone, Carissa Godwin from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, Tom FMs Tom Wood and KATVs Pamela Smith handled the duties.
  • Leif Hassell
  • JUDGING: Shea Stewart from Sync, Riverfest Executive Director DeAnn Korte, Rosemary Boggs from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Today's THV's Ashley Blackstone, Carissa Godwin from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, Tom FM's Tom Wood and KATV's Pamela Smith handled the duties.
Culinary Team from Eureka Springs' Basin Park Hotel in the professional division and to Mamma Chelle's in the amateur division. For Best Decorated Booth it was Moe's Southwest Grill and DD's for professional and amateur.

And for the most innovative dips? Ferneau's lobster bisque-like sauce took home the award in the professional division, while for the amateurs it was the Concheeztadors.

What's next? Dogtown gets to send its team to New Orleans in March for the New Orleans Roadfood Festival, representing Arkansas with cheese dip. There will be cheese dip classics coming up in the coming year, and another competition next year. Yes, cheese dip guru Nick Rogers says that there will be another one. Stay tuned.

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