And you shall be judged…


Check out the intensity of our judging panel at Classic Cars West.  We were honored to have such a distinguished panel.

Melanie Wong, Chowhound and Prolific Eater

A fifth-generation Alta Californian, Melanie was born in Salinas, she speaks menu Spanglish fluently and chronicles her eating adventures and pursuit of deliciousness on  On the eternal question of “red or green”, she serves up her own fantastic version of Hatch chile verde. But she never turns down a great bowl of red.  In 2011, she made the pilgrimage to Chugwater, Wyoming to taste the eponymous chili and along the way cracked the secrets of the rare white chili.  When she’s not chowing on chili-licious cuisine, she’s on the hunt for Hmong sausages, grand cru Burgundy, great cannoli, and more joints to add to her lifetime list of 90+ ramen houses.

Melanie is a Master Certified Judge in the Kansas City Barbecue Society.  She is also in demand to judge wine, chocolate, salsa, and other artisan food competitions. Melanie earned her degree in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and Master of Public Health and MBA from UCLA.  She serves as Co-chair of the Central Coast Food Policy Council and advocates for food system change for all Californians.

Carlo of Savor Oakland Food Tours

Savor Oakland Food Tours- Oakland’s #1 Tour/Activity. Owners Carlo+Geneva started the company last year after a 6month trip to Central+South America. Their food tours give a snapshot of Oakland food, culture, and history.  Their Jack London Square Food Tour is the #1 Tour/Activity in Oakland and they are setting up their next food tour in Old Oakland/Chinatown. They will be featured next month on the Cooking Channel and on Southwest Airline’s Spirit Magazine. TIckets are available at They will also be selling gift certificates today. (A perfect Mother’s Day, Bday, gift!!). Join the tours and Savor A Taste Of Oakland Soul!

Steve Mills, Co-Owner of Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café & Owner of Mills General

Steve is the man behind the making the restaurants we love look amazing.  He has been a prominent participant in the creation of numerous businesses like Bay Area restaurants and businesses include Andalu, Bocadillos, Gitane, Wood Tavern, the June Taylor Still Room, Tokyo Fish Market, and Good Vibrations.

Focusing on his first loves; good food and punk rock, Steve co-founded Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe with some of his more famous friends. The first Rudy’s location opened in 2002 in Emeryville. The second Rudy’s opened in 2011 in the historic Fox Theatre in the Uptown arts and entertainment district of Oakland.

Steve’s best Chili memory is definitely captured within the moment of his highest Chili pride: when former Oakland Raider great Ken “the Snake” Stabler bit into his Chili Burger for an episode of “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” filmed at the Oakland Coliseum after he spent his entire afternoon stirring that Chili pot out there in the Coliseum parking lot.

Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal of Guns n Roses

Bumblefoot began playing music at age 7 and hasn’t stopped.  Lead guitarist of Guns n Roses since 2006, he has toured in over 50 countries in front of crowds as large as 150,000 (a few orders of magnitude different than today)  He also has collaborates with a wide range of artists/producers like  rapper Scarface, Jessica Simpson, and on video games & show theme songs.

He recently launched the award winning Bumblefoot hot sauce which will be featured in an upcoming Ike’s Place sandwich which was previewed at the Cook-off.

Bumblefoot is continuously donating songs and performances to fundraising CDs, often making appearances and donating autographed items for charities. He often performs at events for medical research, disaster relief, and children’s health issues, visiting patients at children’s hospitals all over the world with guitar in hand.


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