Photo: Texas Fried Frito Pie
Some compared it to a rookie winning the Super Bowl MVP when three culinary novices swept the Best Taste award at the sixth annual Big Tex Choice Awards yesterday.
The creators of Texas Fried Frito Pie beat out the competition to take the prize at the Texas State Fair, the Dallas Morning News reported.
The team was made up of Michael Thomas, the originator, Richard Roznowski, the motivator and Jeffrey Lovel, the facilitator, all of whom had a hand in creating the Texas Fried Frito Pie -- balls of cheese and chili rolled in corn chips and then battered and deep fried -- and getting it to the fair.
"We're all big time fair-goers. I probably go six or seven times a year, which for a 3 week fair is a lot. We'd been looking for a classic fair food that hadn't been done fried, and Frito pie just made sense," Lovell told Slashfood.
The trio tried many brands of chili, chips and cheese before settling on Texas Chili Company's chili and a "basic" cheese and chip, Lovell said. "We combine the chili and the cheese and then we surround it in chips and then we freeze it and then we batter it and fry it."
They spent about six months on the recipe, the Morning News reported. "We had to increase our exercise considerably," Roznowski told the paper. Neighbors were asked to taste-test along the way, Lovell said.
To get the pie in the hands of fair-goers, Lovell turned to family friend Nick Bert, whose family has had a fair concession stand since 1919. The Texas Fried Frito Pie can be purchased at Bert Concessions throughout the fair, Sept. 24 to Oct. 17.
In addition to becoming the best tasting food at the fair, beating out both sweet and savory deep fried treats like Fried Beer -- which won the Creativity Award -- Lovell said the group intends to market the product for wider distribution at stadiums and music venues.
"It's good stadium food and it's really good fair food," he said. "It's one of those things where you want to keep getting it... I don't think its going to be a one-year, pique-your-interest fair food."
How does it feel to have the best tasting food at the state fair?
"It was great. One of the best feelings in the world. Not quite as high up on the list as getting married or having a kid, but its a pretty cool feeling," Lovell told Slashfood.