Cook-Off Puts Poultry And Prizes in Every Pot
Contributed by: NewsUSA
(NewsUSA) - Horse racing has its Triple Crown, and football has the Super Bowl. But for competitive cooks, greatness lies in the Big 4.
Cooking contests have come a long way since the county fair. Hundreds of thousands of Americans enter cooking contests each year. Top cooks compete in the Big 4: the Pillsbury Bake-Off, the Sutter Home Build a Better Burger Contest, the National Beef Cook-Off and the National Chicken Cooking Contest, each of which gives at least $50,000 as the grand prize.
While the major contests attract entries from people with considerable experience in contests, first-timers also have a chance. Ohio's Jennifer White placed fifth and won $1,000 in the 2007 National Chicken Cooking Contest - her first cook-off - with barbecued chicken on sweet potato biscuits.
Some cooking contests require contestants to use products marketed by their sponsors, or accept only recipes that fit into certain categories. The National Chicken Cooking Contest (www.chickencookingcontest.com), by contrast, is wide open. National Chicken has no special categories and has only one required ingredient - chicken. After that, cooks can use as many or as few ingredients as they wish.
No grilled entries are allowed, but cooks may still roast, pan roast, stir fry, sauté, fry, curry or stew their chicken, leaving many options open. Winners in recent years have ranged from "Yucatan Chicken with Peach-Avocado Salsa" to "Thai-Inspired Stuffed Chicken Breast and Slaw."
Contestants must cook their dish twice in three hours, leaving ample time for most recipes.
The prize money looks good, too. A contestant will be selected from each state to win $100 and a chance to be considered in regional judging. Each of the nine regional winners will receive $1,000 and a trip to the National Cook-Off, where they will vie for the $10,000 judge's choice prize and the $50,000 grand prize.
Contestants may submit entries through the Web at www.eatchicken.com, through the mail at the National Chicken Cooking Contest, P.O. Box 27997, Washington, D.C. 20038 or by faxing to (202) 293-4005.
A word of caution:
Entries must be original. With so much money and prestige at stake, recipes are checked carefully to make sure they were not borrowed from cookbooks or magazines.