SCV Escrow Association hosts 5th annual Grill Master Challenge at Wolf Creek to support SCV Youth Project

Ken Harris grills tri tip and chicken at the 2018 Grill Master Challenge. Kyle Shannon/The Signal

There were eight grillers and one good cause Saturday at Wolf Creek in Santa Clarita.

The SCV Youth Project once again hosted the the Grill Master Challenge, as barbecue fans gathered for a cause Saturday at Wolf Creek Brewery.

Attendees of the 2018 Grill Master Challenge getting lunch.
Kyle Shannon/The Signal

Along the edges of the event, chicken and tri tip were cooked atop eight grills, as representatives from a local bank, loan centers and more competed in a charity cook-off.

The competition, held on April 28, was put on by the Santa Clarita Valley Escrow Association, and began five years ago as a friendly competition.

“It started out with the two escrow companies (owned by) Jim Lombardi and Steve Corn in our parking lot — now, we’ve grown to eight cooks this year,” said Anita Lombardi, member of the Santa Clarita Valley Escrow Association and wife of the association’s president, Jim.

Volunteers providing attendees with snow cones and cotton candy at the 2018 Grill Master Challenge.
Kyle Shannon/The Signal

This is the second year that we have hosted the Grill Master Challenge at the brewery,” said Laina McFerren, cofounder of the brewery. “They’re great people to work with, and we’re happy to give back.”

Each team grilled tri tip and chicken using their choice of marinade, rub, seasonings, etc. The meat was judged by a trio of professional chefs.

I am a recent local business owner that owns a restaurant, and got lucky enough to get invited after a catering we did,” said one of the judges, Eric Tovar-Plummer from Cathy’s Deli in Newhall.

Additionally, attendees were allowed to sample from all of the contestants and vote for the winner of the people’s choice award.

The eight grillers, each representing a different organization, all competed for the same goal: to raise funds for the SCV Youth Project, a nonprofit that serves youth in local junior high and high schools through outreach and individual counseling.

“It’s a great event for the Santa Clarita Youth Project. Raising a lot of money to help our kids,” said Ken Harris, who grilled for the First American 1031 Exchange. He competed in the event along with his family.

The awards were given to the following cooks:  Judges’ Choice, Best Tri Tip, went to Gino Fronti; the Judges’ Choice for Chicken went to Will Saylor; and there were two people’s choice categories, also, Jim Lombardi said. “We had a People’s Choice category for Best Tri Tip, which was also awarded to Gino Fronti, and People’s Choice for Best Chicken was awarded to Ken Harris.”

The family-friendly event supported services for Santa Clarita Valley’s youth, and was a great get together, organizers said.

“I love barbecue, my husband barbecues,” said Anita Lombardi, “and it’s a great way to get the community together.”


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