Steve and I had a memorable time this past weekend in Morrilton, Arkansas, cooking in the Central Arkansas Dutch Oven Championship. We have been talking about competing in a cook off for a long time, so after many practice runs and preparation, we worked up our courage and sent in our paperwork to be one of eight competitors in the International Dutch Oven Society‘s 3-Pot Cook Off.
The competition coordinator had us gather at 7:45 a.m. for a meeting to review the rules and explain the process. She introduced us to the Field Judge and explained that she will be examining our cooking area to make sure we are following all of the rules, especially good food handling practices, and to offer support as needed. The schedule of presentation to the judges table beginning with dessert at 11:30, bread at 12:00, and main dish at 12:30. At 8:00 a.m. sharp, we started to work!
We wanted to be able to interact with the public, so we put the prep table at the front with everything else around the sides. We had so much fun talking with many visitors about the joy of cooking outdoors in our Dutch ovens while preparing the ingredients for our three entries. We did not know that this was one of the items the field judge would evaluating and were surprised and pleased that she gave us the highest score possible for “spectator interaction – sharing ideas and communication with spectators and participants and encourages DO use.” On her evaluation form under comments, “Outstanding interaction with the public while sharing your love of the old black pot!”
Here is the group photo of the eight teams competing. Several of the teams have won many IDOS competitions and prepare beautiful and delicious recipes in their black pots. Many of them are good friends who inspire us to be creative and try new and interesting recipes. We also made several new friends and shared a special sense of camaraderie based on our mutual joy of cooking in black pots.
In my next blog post, I will share how we made dessert, and the following posts will be about the bread and main dishes. I will also post about the judging process, the People’s Choice event, and then end with a summary of the final results!
If you have competed in a cook off, I’d love to hear about your experience! If you are thinking about competing in a cook off, share your thoughts, worries, hopes, and dreams!