I think it's safe to say that our first experience at the Taste of Essex event was a success! Every year food lovers and food vendors come together for a night of fun and friendly competition. Over 40 businesses put out their best bites in an effort to be crowned the ‘Best of Essex’ County. From savory to sweets to cocktails, judges put on their bibs and get down to business. I think it’s fair to say that Rooted Pear was downright intimidated when we saw the list of players we’d be up against, but nevertheless we knotted our aprons, donned our game faces, and got to work. We did what we do best, and that’s cook. Our bites were creative and colorful, while being flavorful and unique. To our surprise, once the night kicked off it wasn’t long before our booth was swarmed with patrons, and we were struggling to keep up with demand let alone wander about to scope out the other competitors. This was a welcoming dilemma. Being this year’s rookies, there was a lot to live up to and we were not about to disappoint. As the night went on, the hours flew by, and all too soon it was all coming to an end. The host of the evening began her closing speeches and before we knew it, it was time for the judges’ choices. The moment before the winners are announced, it’s as if you unintentionally hold your breath in an effort to prepare yourself for a letdown. In this moment, you’re so wrapped up in being ready for disappointment that when your name is called, you just fall into a blank stare - as if you’re hearing things! Don’t get us wrong, we only took home 3rd place; but for a pair of newbies at a showdown with a bunch of heavy hitters, I’d say that was a home run. We couldn’t have had a more memorable time: making new friends and finding a new sense of confidence in our capabilities. Watch out Iron Chef, here comes Rooted Pear!