Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Utah State Fair Cooking Contests -- Enter Now!

Governor and Mrs. Herbert judging his meatloaf contest. This year, it will be pies.
Last year's Ghirardelli contest winner.

You could win up to $300 for your original recipe at the Utah State Fair's cooking contests.  
Even if you don't win, you will at least get a free ticket to the fair for your trouble.
I will be judging a contest or two at the fair, and I'll also be doing cooking demos from my new cookbook, "Soup's On" on Sept. 13 (4 p.m.) and Sept. 14 (5 p.m.) in the Home Arts Building where the indoor cooking contests take place. So, I might see you there!

The line-up of State Fair cooking contests has gotten smaller in the past few years, as some national companies such as Hidden Valley Ranch and SPAM have dropped their sponsorships. But there are still some good opportunities to test your culinary creativity. 
Deadline for most of the online entries is August 31, so don't delay. After that, you must wait and enter on the day of the contest.
If you enter online, a complimentary gate pass will be mailed to you beforehand. If you enter the day of the competition, a pass may be picked up at the Fair's administration office, 155 N. 1000 West.  You will receive one entry pass per cook-off entry.
To enter, go to the Utah State Fair website,  www.utahstatefair.com. Click on "Exhibitors." The list will include  Indoor Cook-Offs and Outdoor Cook-Offs.  Click on online registration link.
It really pays to read all the rules, and to follow them. As a past judge, I've seen delectable entries disqualified simply for not following the rules. For instance, the rules state that the pie must be baked in a disposable pan.  The entries that were baked in a glass pie plate, or a regular pie tin, were disqualified. 
Last year, some Ghirardelli entries had to be disqualified for using too many ingredients; contest rules specify only 10 ingredients in addition to the Ghirardelli chocolate products.  Also, some people don't bring their recipe, and the rules state that two copies of the recipe should accompany your entry.

Think smart when it comes to food safety so that you don't give the judges food poisoning. (I judge some of these contests, so I have a vested interest here.) Transport your food in a well-chilled cooler so bacteria won't grow on your way to the fair.
Another thing I noticed: last year there were 28 entries in the Ghirardelli chocolate contest, and a lot fewer in the King Arthur Flour cake contest. If you've got a great chocolate cake, you've got a better chance of winning if you enter it in the cake contest than in Ghirardelli.  

Here is a list of the contest possibilities. New this year is a Funeral Potato contest...only in Utah....!

Indoor Cook-Offs:
The Governor's Pie Contest: Thursday, Sept. 6, 7 p.m. First place wins $150. 
Fleischmann's Sandwich Bread Contest: Friday, Sept. 7 p.m. First place wins $150 and a shot at a $1,000 regional prize. 
King Arthur Flour Great Cake Contest: Sept. 8, 2 p.m. First place wins a $200 KAF gift card and a shot at a regional prize of a $500 shopping spree at www.kingarthurflour.com.
C&H Sugar Cookie Contest: Tuesday, Sept. 11, 7 p.m. First place wins  $75.
Utah's Own Ultimate Recipe Roundup: Wednesday, Sept. 12, 7 p.m. First place wins $150.Participants are required to make an original dish that uses at least three Utah's Own ingredients (found at www.utahsown.gov). Utah's Own Funeral Potato Contest: Thursday, Sept. 13, 7 p.m. First place wins $150.
Ghirardelli Chocolate Championship: Friday, Sept. 14, 7 p.m. First place wins $150 and a Ghirardelli gift basket.
Utah Cattlewomen's  Beef --Anywhere, Anytime Contest: Saturday, Sept. 15,  1 p.m. First place wins $300.
Outdoor Cook-offs:
Utah Beef Council Barbecue Cook-Off: Saturday, Sept. 7-8.  Grand champion of the professional division wins $1,000 and a berth at the American Royal in Kansas City. Backyarder division winners receives $150.
Budweiser Chili Cook-off, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2-8:30 p.m. First place wins $300.
Fresh Made Salsa Competition, Thursday, Sept. 13, 4 p.m. First place wins $75.
Utah Farm Bureau Great American Dutch Oven Cook-Off, Sept. 15. First place wins $300 and a berth at the International Dutch Oven Society World Championship Cook-Off in 2013.

1 comment:

Chef Jeff said...

Great Blog, I also love the Utah State Fair. Last Fall, I did a write-up on the food at the State Fair, http://hometownslop.blogspot.com/2011/09/utah-state-fair.html