This year LA Weekly's Tacolandia will partner with The Vendy Awards
to crown six taco purveyors amongst the 80 of Los Angeles and Mexico's top taco vendors that will be at the event.
Categories will include Best Traditional Taco
, Best New School (Non-Traditional) Taco
, Best Street Taco
, People's Choice
, and a Lifetime Achievement Award
Named "the Oscars of street food" by Mario Batali, the Vendy Awards are a national non-profit food competition series where chefs compete for the title of Best Street food. The Vendy Awards also serve as a fundraiser for the Street Vendor Project of the Urban Justice Center which advocates for the legal rights of street vendors.
is the editor of OC Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Orange County, California, author of Orange County: A Personal History and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, lecturer with the Chicana and Chicano Studies department at California State University, Fullerton, and a consulting producer on FOX's animated show, Bordertown. He writes "¡Ask a Mexican!," a nationally syndicated column in which he answers any and all questions about America's spiciest and largest minority. Gustavo is a lifelong resident of Orange County and is the proud son of two Mexican immigrants, one whom was illegal.
is the founder of Midtown Lunch, and host of the Food is the New Rock podcast where every week he talks to a chef about music or a musician about food. His writing has been published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Magazine and Food & Wine Magazine, who named him one of their "40 Big Thinkers 40 & Under" in 2010.
Like his mythological namesake Daedalus
, Alfred Darlington is an inventor, a craftsman, a constructor of labyrinths. Over the last twelve years, the LA producer has dropped two-dozen full-lengths and EPs. Pick a genre, any genre: juke, hip-hop, bossa nova, rave, classical, psychedelic, drum-and- bass, glitch, etc. If there's a beat, Daedelus has likely freaked it. Daedelus has collaborated with the likes of MF Doom, Flying Lotus, Madlib and myriad others. He's released records for beat music's most respected imprints, in "Live at Low End Theory" remains a defining document of the most influential American club night of the last decade.
is a Councilmember of the Los Angeles City Council representing District 14. His district covers central Downtown Los Angeles, as well as Boyle Heights, El Sereno, Hermon, Monterey Hills, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, and Glassell Park. José Huizar was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, a Master's degree in Public Affairs and Urban Planning from Princeton University and a Juris Doctorate from UCLA School of Law. He is the first Latino immigrant elected to the City Council in Los Angeles' history and in 2004, he became the first Latino to serve on the Princeton Board of Trustees. He resides in Boyle Heights with his wife Richelle Rios, their son Simón and three daughters, Emilia, Isabella and Aviana.
Intelligent, quick-witted, and beautiful, cover girl Patricia Lopez
offers a triple threat of talents spanning radio, TV, film, and print. But don't let her slender frame and former modeling street cred fool you, this woman lives to eat. She's currently scouring So Cal in search of the area's best eats as ABC7 Los Angeles local foodie on her current show Vista LA. Prior to that she was living in Buenos Aires showcasing some of Latin America's top chefs on Fox/Utilsima's Sabores de Familia and travelling throughout South American learning traditional recipes from locals for Newland Productions La Cocina de la Abuela. When she's not on camera, Patricia loves spending time with her dogs and exploring LA in search of the perfect taco.
(singer/songwriter/musician) is the female counterpart to "Fitz" of the chart-topping, show-stopping modern pop combo, Fitz And The Tantrums. Noelle and her dapper colleagues have taken the world by storm, performing everywhere from national television to sweaty clubs and major music festivals around the world. When Noelle isn't performing or playing music, she is cooking. Noelle was raised by a family of foodies; some of which are successful caterers and pastry chefs. Noelle has shared some of her recipes via Sweetlife and has become the go to girl for LA's hot spots for LA Eater, Food & Wine, and The Cooking Channel. Noelle is in the process of creating an on-line publication that allows her to meld all of her loves — music, cooking, and traveling — dubbed Adventures with Scaggs.
Los Angeles chefs Jon Shook
and Vinny Dotolo
are the owners of animal, Son of a Gun, Trois Mec, Petit Trois and Jon & Vinny's. They have been credited with innovating and changing the dining scene in Los Angeles through their critically acclaimed restaurants. Shook and Dotolo have received numerous nominations and awards including Food & Wine's 2009 Best New Chef, StarChefs 2008 Rising Star Chef, and five James Beard nominations including 2009's "Best New Restaurant" for animal, 2011's "Best Chef Pacific" and "Best Chef West" in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2013, Shook and Dotolo formed a culinary partnership with Lexus and were named Culinary Masters.
For nearly 30 years, renowned Chef Sherry Yard
has embraced a range of responsibilities from creating savory and sweet menus, crafting masterful breads and opening new restaurants all while mentoring an entire generation of chefs in kitchens from Singapore to Santa Monica. Yard has earned the praise of her critics and peers with multiple accolades including three James Beard Awards for "Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year," "Best Baking Book," and the Foundation's prestigious "Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America" for her significant contributions to the culinary profession. Yard serves as Vice President of Culinary Development for iPic Entertainment and in 2016 will revive the iconic Helms Bakery.
is Los Angeles based sports broadcaster who has covered Southern California sports since 2005 primarily for ESPN Radio 710, as well as on TV for ESPN and Time Warner Cable Sports Net. Currently, he provides game and practice reports for the Lakers Spanish broadcast on Time Warner Cable Deportes and also serves as a play-by-play announcer for Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Boxing shows that air nationally on FOX SPORTS 1. Born and raised in Carson, CA, he is from a family of 7 with roots in Nochistlan, Zacatecas, Mexico.
is currently a commentator, host and reporter for Top Rank Boxing and Turner Sports. She also serves as a host, reporter and correspondent for the NFL Network and NFL.com. In her role with Top Rank, Crystina provides fight commentary ringside and has interviewed some of boxing's biggest stars from around the world. She is a reporter for the new "Friday Night Knockout" series on truTV. Crystina's duties with the NFL Network include serving as an in-studio host, as well as a reporter/correspondent for NFL.com's NFL Fan Pass, which gives viewers inside access to all things NFL related.
is a recording artist and song writer whose indie-pop band Capital Cities has toured five continents and earned an MTV Video Music Award and Grammy nomination for the multi-platinum single "Safe and Sound". Sebu turned down an opera scholarship to pursue rocknroll while writing commercial jingles to pay the bills. Rolling Stone praised his formidable beard. Born to Armenian parents, Sebu calls Southern California home.