This all started back last July at the Layton Liberty Days – coordinated by Bakin’ Bill Johnson, it was stated that there would be no county fair cook-off in 2010, he was hanging up his hat. And that’s where the spark started.
For me the county fair is where you go, to see the rodeo, the bunnies, and the stuff everyone grew in their gardens, and a Dutch Oven cook-off, and I was going to miss the cook-off. That little spark just sorta sat there glowing until the IDOS spring convention when I talked a little more in detail with my Dutch Oven family, to see exactly, how does one coordinate a cook-off. I was given some personal incites, and directed to the IDOS website where they give you, the ABC’s of how this is done.
1st step - I contacted the Fair Coordinator. We talked on the phone and e-mailed back and forth hammering out the details, and finally convincing her that this was going to be a great addition to the fair.
2nd step -writing up the rules – for many nights and many revisions – I cut and pasted rules from various cook-offs that I have participated in to create in my opinion a fair set of rules. With that I had to make up a registration form ,and submit all that to the fair for their website, to IDOS for their website and I placed all that info out on Facebook for everyone to see.
3rd step - finding donations – we found that having a letter is the best way to get companies to donate. Now having a full time, very demanding job did not allow me to go out and get these donations – so I put this in the very capable hands of my children – Andrew made some phone calls to the far away companies, Melissa armed with letters and flyers hit up local businesses, and in my spare time I e-mailed a couple of companies. I am so grateful that these companies are so generous. We received thousands of dollars in prizes.
4th step –sit and wait – I was a little nervous when 3 weeks before the Cook-off I only had 1 registration, I had people telling me that they would compete but nothing in the mail. I was beginning to get the Charlie Brown Syndrome (waiting for his Valentine), checking my mailbox every day the minute I got home, and then checking my e-mail – still nothing. Slowly, but surely, the registrations started to trickle in resulting in 6 teams – that’s not too bad for the 1st one, right?
5th step – finding judges – I have to say I left this daunting task to my husband. 1st because he is always the first one to complain about the judging when I compete, and 2nd well he has more connections than I do. My only request is that they read the recipes and judge them fairly – one of my pet peeves it to have a dish judged and docked because it is “to peppery, use less pepper” well it was a PEPPER CRUSTED TENDERLOIN – duh it’s suppose to be peppery, and “your pie crust was over worked” what pie crust it was a COOKIE CRUST. He also had to makes sure that there were no allergies, and assign them to a category that he felt they could be biased in.
6th step – dividing up the prizes - So my living room and kitchen looked like an episode of “Hoarders” boxes and baskets, and envelopes everywhere. On Friday night (bless my family) we sorted them out into 6 prize packages. What a task – figuring their value and making sure that everyone got a fair amount. – They we wrote them all down so we could box them all up to get them to the Fair.
7th step – pulling it off – we arrived at the fair park about 7:30 to set things up – the teams were to arrive @ 8:30 – we were assigned to the “South Lawn Area” – when we got there we were baffled if that is where they wanted us. We were in the very back farthest part of the fair – my 1st thought was – what the heck – who’s going to find us clear back here, we were even behind the dock jumping dogs, the carnival, and pretty much everything else. But hey we got a cute little stage and bleachers with a canopy. It all worked out well – still wished and hope for next year to be in a more public exposed area.
Our teams started showing up at about 8:30 – I was enlightened when the 2nd and 3rd teams showed up – they were the novice teams (2 teams that had never cooked in a cook-off before). Not that the other teams were not important it was just exciting to have some new teams to compete. There were some very awesome dishes prepared and presented, we even had one that the team made their own sausage for their main dish right there during the cook-off – what a great talent they have, their main dish was beautiful. Check out some of the pictures on the IDOS Facebook page.
I have to say, that I was glad, I was not a judge for this competition; we had some great dishes prepared. There is some really great talent out there. I just want to thank everyone that was involved in some way or another with judging, sponsoring, participating.
Have fun cookin’