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2023 Big Tex Business Masterclass Produces 14 Graduates

DALLAS – November 7, 2023 – On the evening of November 2, 2023, the annual Big Tex Business Masterclass concluded with a graduation ceremony for 14 hardworking and dedicated entrepreneurs. The five-month cohort of several small businesses provides participants a classroom, mentoring, and hands-on opportunities for growth and exposure to the food and beverage industry.

The Big Tex Business Masterclass is a dynamic educational series for small business owners and entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry produced by the State Fair of Texas. The program aims to take existing businesses and educate them on implementing successful business operations and disciplines while creating an environment for networking and providing opportunities for growth and exposure.

Completing the program is not an automatic acceptance to the State Fair of Texas, but it allows a behind-the-scenes view and insight into what it takes to be a Food and Beverage Vendor at the Most Texan Place on Earth.

Participants completed a series of curriculum, business mentoring, and vendor shadowing for the past five months during the State Fair of Texas. The curriculum and sessions included building a business plan, budgeting and outsourcing, HR 101, customer service, digital marketing, government contracting, and more. Congratulations to the 14 entrepreneurs who completed and graduated from the 2023 Big Tex Masterclass:

  • Gayla Beaty, Fluffy’s Chicken LLC
  • Dorian Clark, Dora’s Amora
  • Tiffany Cooper, Best Tex Tacos & Tamales
  • Jahona Davis, Lulu’s Loaded Potatoes and More LLC
  • Katrina Finney, Trina’s Taco
  • Sebastian & Ingrid Ganoza, Bastion
  • Kichu Jones, KLJ Concessions
  • Felicia Lucero, Herb’Nswigg
  • Kris Manning, Creole Bowl
  • Jonathan McZeal, The Food Trap Dallas
  • Brice Noutoua, La Crepe des Rois; Crepes and Co LLC
  • Nikita Seal, ZZ’s Ice Cream Puffs
  • Nicole Sterns, Southside Steaks & Cakes
  • Orquidea Zavala-Hernandez & Leonel Zavala, Otro Taco

As mentoring plays a significant role in the Big Tex Masterclass program, The State Fair of Texas appreciates our 12 vendor mentors’ generosity as they provided support and guidance to the graduates throughout their journey in the cohort. Though the annual State Fair of Texas is the busiest time of year for these vendors, they were willing to allow the participants to shadow them, offering a wealth of knowledge and experience. The State Fair of Texas thanks these vendors for their continuous commitment and support to the Masterclass program:

  • Tony Bednar, Tonys Taco shop1, LLC
  • Tom Grace, TS Food Systems, LLC
  • Rudy Martinez, Fiesta Enterprises Inc.
  • Dwania Morris, Enjoy Foods
  • Tami Nevins, Nevins Concessions
  • Greg Parish, Gourmet Royale, LLC
  • Heather Perkins, Di-Licious Candy Pickles
  • Tammy Stiffler, Stiffler Concessions, LLC
  • Kerston and Sean Thorns, Pearlies Southern Kitchen
  • Kyle Wall, Entertaining Events
  • Milton and Gracie Whitley, Homestyle Products, LLC
  • Angel Young, Sakhuu Enterprises, LLC

Orquidea Zavala-Hernandez & Leonel Zavala of Otro Taco conquered 31 shadowing hours, with 27 of those hours under Tony Bednar of Tony’s Taco Shop. “We received the best support from our mentor, Tony. The best part of our shadowing is that he allowed us to participate and receive hands-on experience. It was rewarding to see customers leaving satisfied with all his creative foods,” said Zavala-Hernandez and Zavala.

“We learned that having a good working crew is very important and that we have to stay calm during chaotic or busy moments so our employees don’t panic and lose control. We acknowledge the great information we received and are more than grateful.”

The State Fair of Texas aims to give back through our partnerships with local organizations and initiatives while expanding outreach programs and prioritizing promoting community involvement. Our impact focuses on three areas of our mission – economic development, capacity building, and education, and the Big Tex Business Masterclass embodies all three. A special thank you to our partners and collaborators for continuously providing their greatest strengths and making this program possible: SCORE Dallas, SBDC of North Texas, SBA, City of Dallas, Comerica Bank, Prosperity Bank, Lift Fund, and People Fund. For more information, visit