DEL MAR, Calif. — From giant turkey legs to deep fried funnel cakes, the San Diego County Fair is a competitive place to sell food. In this Zevely Zone, I met the new kid on the block.
Selling anything at the fair is a little bit like real estate, it's all about location, location, location. You have to be a tough cookie to make it on the Midway. Yet, Gigi Horowitz and her sugar are sweet as they come. "I switched to 25-pound bags because the 50's were getting a little heavy," said Gigi while unloading large bags of sugar.
Mom's Bakeshoppe is the new booth on the block at the fair. Gigi finally made it to the big time. "I have, I have. It's amazing," said Gigi. For years, Gigi's small cookie booth was tucked inside a dark exhibit hall and very hard to find.
Gigi called it her 'Field of Dreams' moment, she built a large booth before it had a home for a hefty price tag. "$180,000 and it's custom made. It's perfect," said Gigi, who paid for the booth before it had a slot on the Midway. "Oh yeah. I believed in it, I just believed it was going to happen," said Gigi.
Just a few booths down sits the perennial powerhouse, Australian Battered Potatoes. The queen of potatoes, Carmel Dyer could have sliced up her new competition, instead we found her helping Gigi set up her booth with open arms. "We all want everyone to do well. It's not all just about us, it's about each other. We are all family, we're crazy, we are nuts," said Carmel.
Family means everything at the fair. "She's an amazing person," said David Silvestri. After his mother died, Gigi hired the cookie baker and said 'batter up' in their prime location. "Yes, people work years to get to this location," said David. But can they stand the heat in the kitchen? After all, if the cookies don't perform the whole business crumbles. "The chocolate we use is just astounding and the secret is Kirkland vanilla, that is the absolute secret," said Gigi.
We watched the cookies come straight out the oven then delivered to fairgoers in overflowing buckets. "What's not to love? People just come up, hey I like cookies, it's not a hard sell," said Gigi. Carmel then added, "She is just really sweet, just like the cookies that she sells."
At Mom's Bakeshoppe love at first bite is a slam dunk. "It just melts in your mouth," I announced after dunking my cookie in milk and devouring the poor critter. "You guys enjoy the rest of those," said Gigi to a crowd of people.
"Oh, it's delicious," said a woman with a mouth full of cookies. Gigi now has two locations at the San Diego County Fair and sells eight thousand cookies a day.
The fair grounds are open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Closing day is on Monday, July 4th. For more information on what you need to know before getting in the car and heading to the fair, click here.
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