Everyone should experience this Ghost Pepper and Blueberry Hot Sauce from Bravado Spice Co.
Passing out Kobe Steak Sauce samples.
Mickey V's Smoked Bacon Salsa is made with fresh ingredients, and yes, you can taste the bacon.
More samples!
The beautiful ladies of Rumtastic, a Georgia based cake company specializing in extra moist rum cakes.
The sweet and spicy relish from LoneStar Pepper Co. is rather addictive. Best served on a tortilla chip.
What better way to enjoy Zest Fest than with spicy wings from Wingstop like this fine gentleman was enjoying.
A fairly new company, POKS Spices is all about taking food to the next level.
All Of Us Old Plantation Soup and Dip offered tastes of their Gumbo and Cheesy Chicken Enchilada soups.
Bags of buttery tempting Texas Toffee.
Chef Loreal Gavin aka "The Butcher Babe"
Chefs Aryen Moore-Alston and Loreal Gavin toasting to two meals well done after their cooking demonstration.

Tongue tingling satisfaction returned to Irving for the annual Zest Fest. Held at the Irving Convention Center, vendors, celebrity chefs and ready to risk it all foodies were in attendance. The weekend long festivities included an Atomic Wing Eating Contest, Puckerbutt’s Jalapeño Eating Contest, and the Eddie Deen Pig Roast Dinner. Seasonings, rubs barbeque and hot sauces were among the many options available for sampling and purchase.

Both national and local vendors made their presence known this year including Bravado Spice Co., Poks Spices, KA-RANCH, and Lone Star Pepper Co. Spice filled samples were the main attraction for Zest Fest, but sweet tooth swooners like Texas Toffee, Winslow’s Treats which specializes in gourmet brittles and Rumtastic, aka the best rum cake I’ve ever eaten were also in attendance.

The biggest attractions during Zest Fest however were the cooking demonstrations (and samples afterwards) from some of Texas’ most notable chef’s such as Eddie Deen, Peter Mollett, Bryan Mclarty and Eduardo Alvarez. Food Network Stars and good friends, Chef Loreal Gavin “The Butcher Babe” and Chef Aryen Moore-Alston teamed up to prepare two delicious dishes. Loreal put together a tender Moroccan Coffee Rubbed Beef Tenderloin over Blue Cheese Creamed Spinach while Aryen tempted taste buds with a sweet and savory Sugar & Spiced Popcorn Encrusted Salmon over Baby Arugula Salad with a Smoked Bacon & Grapefruit Vinaigrette. Seconds after plating, a line was formed and samples were scooped up with a vengeance. Licking forks and fingers was not an uncommon sight in the process.

From peppery, to spicy, to sweet and spicy, Zest Fest was a success for the 17th year. With over 150 exhibitors serving up the hot stuff event goers may still be fanning their tongues in heated happiness. Until next year.