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UPDATE: Chef to try for falafel ball record at Santa Clarita fest

May 10, 2011 | 6:11 pm

UPDATE: The falafel ball, weighing nearly 52.8 pounds, has been certified as the world’s largest.

The Santa Clarita Valley could become home to the world’s largest falafel ball on

May 15, when local chef Dawn Walker tries to craft and cook a deep-fried chickpea patty that will outweigh the 24-pound falafel ball that set the record a year ago in New York.

Part of the third annual Santa Clarita Valley Jewish Food and Cultural Festival, Walker’s attempt will be documented for the Guinness Book of World Records. If a test run held two weeks before the event is any indication, the ball could end up weighing as much as 50 pounds.

The organizers considered attempting to break other food-related records before settling on the falafel ball. “We thought about a matzah ball,” Sandi Hershenson, the event’s chairperson, said. “That was hundreds of pounds.” The world’s largest rugelach (440 pounds) was also out of reach, Hershenson said.

Temple Beth Ami, Congregation Beth Shalom and the local Chabad are hosting this year’s festival, which will include food vendors, musical performances and a kugel-baking competition. The event coincides with Big Sunday, and attendees will be able to take part in a number of mitzvah projects and community service opportunities.

The festival drew 1,500 people last year, and organizers anticipate an even larger number this year, particularly in light of the cancellation of this year’s Israel Independence Day Festival in Woodley Park.

Attendees will be invited to help mix the chickpeas for Walker’s massive falafel ball, but they won’t get to taste it. “If 2,000 people are all putting their hands in it, I don’t know who would want to eat it at that point,” Hershenson said. The ball will need to be deep fried and baked to ensure it is fully cooked throughout, a requirement of any Guinness competitor.

The event will be held at College of the Canyons and runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Details are available at scvjewishfoodfestival.com.

— Jonah Lowenfeld, Staff Writer

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