Cooking Competitions: Pros and Cons

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Cooking Competitions: Pros and Cons

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Cooking competitions are exciting and fun to watch because of the suspense and wonders of what might something taste like. The competitors seem to be well experienced every time there is a cook off is in town there are lots of professional cooks and chefs which makes the competition more aggressive and interesting. They also have amateur competitions which when anybody can enter and win. Cooking competitions can and will help in the culinary field if you are trying to get a job and need experience. They will also have contestants more recognized by other restaurants and people trying to start a business. This will also give chefs and cooks feedback on what to do better with their cooking because the food is being judged. These competitions will drastically improve the success of any cook in the culinary field.

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To become a top chef or cook you need to have experience also to get a job you need experience also. Being in cooking competitions will help with working under pressure because of all of the people watching and that the food will be judged and tasted. There are different types of competitions, local cook offs, television competitions, and national competitions. Local competitions help with pressure because of the huge amount of people coming to taste all different versions of the same food.

The most popular type of local cook off is chili because there are all different types of ways that chili can be made, there can be sweet and spicy type of chili that will have tasters mouths watering, there can also be red-hot chili that with have people's mouths on fire, and there can also be vegetarian chili for the people who don't eat meat. All of these categories mean that there will be many people and many contestants at this type of cook off. Recently there was a White Rock local market 3rd annual Chili Cook off in Dallas, Texas, this event happened in April 2013. There many people there to taste all of the various chili, also the judges can also make contestants nervous. The judges were, " Corby Davidson, co-host of The Hardline on 1310 the Ticket; Daniel Vaughn, BBQ Snob and Texas Monthly barbecue editor; and Josh Yingling, co-owner of Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House.". (Daniels). The pressure was at the highest peak for the contestants. Working under pressure is something that all great chefs should master to do. Because if a chef has a full-house at his restaurant that he works at and has to get everyone fed and doesn't know how to work under pressure he or she will fail miserably. Working under pressure is and crucial requirement for a cook.

Another popular local cooking competition are the ribs cook offs, most of these types of cook offs are done in the south. And this cook off is similar to the chili competition, because there are still many ways you can make rib taste good. There is always many ways to cook all types of food just to cook it you just have to know what to put together. There is a rib cook off coming up in August, 2014 called," 26th annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off "; it is located in Victorian Square, Nevada. It is said that there will be over five hundred thousand people at the event, this many people will make most amateur chefs nervous. Working in these type of event will give you practice in working with pressure. Most of this pressure will come from criticism from different strangers who you have to improve to win.

Local cooking competitions are a great way to train yourself to work under pressure, more advanced type of competitions can help with pressure also because the competitors are more experienced and more difficult to impress the judges. Some higher class competitions start with local a competition that separates the great cooks from the good cooks. Only the elite chefs and cooks can qualify to compete in some of these events. There was a competition March 10, 2010 for Canadian culinary students who competed in Vancouver, BC in the Pear Bureau Northwest’s third annual “Pear Excellence” recipe competition. The students had to come up with a recipe with pears and the dish could have been anything from breakfast to deserts. Although these contestants were in college in Canada they still get the same experience and same amount of pressure that they would have here in the United States. There were many competitors that had very good entries but there were only five winners and they were Kyle Mar, Cyril Roach, Stephanie Duong, Adam Cenaiko, Norelle Donahue. Dealing with the pressure of making it to regional championships and also to win one thousand five hundred dollars. If you can do well in competitions with pressure you can also do well in a restaurant.

In Individual competitions you get more recognition because if a chef is alone in the kitchen then most people just look at that person. If in any individual competition a competitor wins he or she has the focus and attention of the judges. Competing in these types of competitions will help with pressure because all of the focus is on only one person and if someone makes a mistake it's a big deal because any little mistake is that persons fault because nobody else could have made that mistake because the dish or pastry is only made by one person. Pressure is built up to the highest point and working under pressure like this can be very stressful on any chef.

More pressure can be put on to a cook while he or she is working to make the perfect dish to win that competition. There is a competition in Britain called the Britain Culinary Federation Young Chef of the Year; this competition will be on November 5, 2013. The British Culinary Federation encourages and supports young chefs to go for their goals in the culinary field. They established this competition fifteen years ago so that young chefs can strive for excellence in cooking. "The final is your opportunity to represent your establishment and gain recognition within our industry." (Russell) Getting recognition it this industry will help the chances of getting a job also. The three finalists will win money and a framed certificate, but the first place winner will win a study tour to Luxembourg with Villeroy and Boch, winner’s commemorative plate. (Russell) The competition has two parts to the competition, a written portion, and the competition that will be two hours. Also in this competition these young chef will have to prepare a three coursed meal, and in one of the dishes it must contain fish. Some of the pressure will be taken off of these young chefs because each competitor will be accompanied by a commis chef but will only be there to assist the competitor not to cook with him or her.

With all of the pressure put on the contestants they will be assisted by an chef from University College of Birmingham and this will help take the stress off of the contestants but they still have to cook alone because the chef cannot help cook. Even though they will have a chef with them, the competitors will still be in a lot of stress because of all of the ingredients and items they have to have for their meals. They have to supply their own foods and spices, the only thing that they will have given to them are the pans and dishes they have to use to cook their three coursed meal. Bringing their own food can cause stress to the contestants because they have to make sure everything is perfect and they have everything because if any of the contestants forget to bring one piece of food that will affect their chance of winning drastically.

The contestants are still having more pressure put on them because of the food they have to bring and also what the judges will be judging the competitors on. The young chefs will be judged on the written submitted entry, working methods, professional techniques and culinary skills, hygiene, timing, balance of texture and flavors, and presentation. (Russell) They have to make sure that they meet all of these requirements so that they will have a better chance of winning. All of these things that the judges will be judging on will put stress and pressure on them also just like how they have to make sure they bring their own food. There is also things they can and cannot have in the competition, Washed and peeled vegetables and fruit but not cut, Stocks (not manufactured other than Major), No finished sauces, Weighed ingredients, Uncooked pastry, Competitors must use at least one Major product and one Gourmet Classic product. The pressure on the young chef will help them through their culinary career, dealing with pressure and stress can help with difficult situations at the restaurant or any other jobs.

The pressure that is put on the young chefs is a good and bad thing at the same time because this can conflict the way the young cooks will perform in this competition. Being stress over all of the things they have to do like bring their own food to cook, and worry about what the judges are judging them by and this is an individual competition so the judges with look at a single competitor and not a group of people with takes some of the stress away if you're in a group but being in more stress will also help chefs and cooks get used to working in bad conditions. Such as if there were a lot of people rushing into a restaurant and you have to get everyone fed. A chef has to know how to deal with stress while preparing everyone's food in a time period, so that they can get in and get out.

Group competitions can also help with stress and working as a team. Working as a team is something that you will have to do if you want to work in a restaurant having group working skills will help be successful in the kitchen because in most restaurants a cook will be a part of a crew or team so any chef needs to be in sync with their crew, because working together as a group gets things done more quicker. Working with other chefs and cooks can also be a stress if anybody doesn’t agree with something or if someone makes a mistake which can make the whole group look bad. If you practice with group competitions working with other people should be easier because the group is dependent on each other and no one can mess up. Working in group culinary competitions will teach that in a group competition or in a restaurant that team work is everything or everything will turn into chaos.

In a barbeque competition for groups, which is sponsored by “Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce”, this competition will be held this weekend of November 1, 2013. There are already nine teams ready to compete for the first event. The executive of the Chamber, Judy Crane says “The teams are ready to compete and there will be tons of delicious barbeque from chicken to ribs in a basket” (Robinson). There are only groups of restaurants I this competition because they already know how they work together because of their experience with each other. The teams only consist of five cooks with a head chef in charge, in this competition the winner will be presented a trophy and will be great on display in a restaurant.

These competitors have to work together to win this competition, having teamwork will be a drastic factor in the competition because that’s what makes everything work, because this type of competition is more faster and more elite because with more cooks it will make a better dish and quicker.

In the culinary business such as restaurants, catering companies, café restaurants you want to get feedback from your costumers to see if your food is good enough to be the best. Going into competitions will give chefs feedback on what to improve in there cooking. In local competitions you can get feedback from the judges who will judge you based on taste a performance and will hold back. The most criticized feedback a cook can get is from his customers or the taste testers there to just watch the competition. Because those are the people you want to impress, because these are the people who goes to restaurants and pays for the food and comes to eat because of the food a cook makes. Most judges are celebrity judges who you see on television, those people rarely go to restaurants because mostly they have one of their own. Celebrity judges can also help to because if they are impressed with a dish a cook makes then the judge can probably give you a good word for the restaurant you work at and it will give more business to the restaurant. Even if you don’t win the competition there is still a chance you can impress someone watching or a judge who will help give more business to your restaurant.

Now if someone who is trying to start a catering business, group competition can help very much because everyone can see how you work in a group, because a catering company needs group working skills, for example if a company is catering for a wedding there has to be many arrangements for food. Such as the wedding cake, the dinner made for the guest, small appetizers, and more. If the company cannot work as a group the wedding will be horrible because the food is not put together right just because of the group work ethic. In group competitions catering companies can show that they can work together and make a delicious meal at the same time to.

Individual Competitions can help out anyone who is looking for a job with a restaurant, because if a graduate from culinary arts school is looking for a job and can’t find a job easily it is better for that person to get noticed by some restaurants because even in local cook offs they are many people who want to come and taste an watch all of the great foods that are being made. There are many people there to taste what amazing food the chefs came up with. There could be someone from a five star restaurants looking for a chef who can cook and work under a tough environment. Getting into competitions can benefit chefs, who are looking for a job, have a catering business, or works at a restaurant.

Also there are some chefs who think that cooking competitions and cook offs are a waste of time, because for the contestants who are not as good as their opponent and they lose and get nothing. If chefs who don’t make it in the top three the competition for the chef seems pointless. You can still get recognized but it is a very slim chance because nobody pays attention to the people who at the bottom who lost the competition.

Even though there are some disadvantages to cooking competitions, there are still more advantages than disadvantages. Being in any competition there are some thing that can help any student or chef who wants to excel in the culinary career such as local amateur competitions, professional competitions, individual competitions, group competitions, all of these competitions can help get any chef get a job or help get there restaurant noticed, and can also help groups and crew who work in a restaurant get there work noticed also. Working in competitions can help you with a chef’s culinary career and it is also fun to get into.

Works Cited

  • "ACF Culinary Team USA Competition History." ACF Culinary Team USA Competition History. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2013. .
  • Admin. "Aspiring Cooks Shine at First Stage of Leading Individual Hotels of Cumbria Young Chef Competition | Cumbria Crack: News for Penrith, Appleby, Eden Valley, Keswick, Workington, Whitehaven, Maryport, Barrow, Kendal, Carlisle, Lake District & Cumbria." Cumbria Crack News for Penrith Appleby Eden Valley Keswick Workington Whitehaven Maryport Barrow Kendal Carlisle Lake District Cumbria. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.
  • Daniels, Lauren Drewes. "White Rock Local Market Hosts 3rd Annual Chili Cook-Off Saturday, April 27." City of Ate. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2013.
  • "Regional Winners Face Off for Pear Excellence Grand Prize." Regional Winners Face Off for Pear Excellence Grand Prize. Pear Bureau Northwest, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2013. .
  • "Rib Cook-Off Competition: Best In The West John Ascuaga's Nugget Reno Nevada NV World Rib Eating Championship BBQ Lovers Cookers Entertainment Kids Area Craft Booths Summer Family Affair Events Vacations." Rib Cook-Off Competition: Best In The West John Ascuaga's Nugget Reno Nevada NV World Rib Eating Championship BBQ Lovers Cookers Entertainment Kids Area Craft Booths Summer Family Affair Events Vacations. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.
  • Robinson, Adam. "The Brewton Standard." Smoked Set for This Weekend. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
  • Russell, James. "The British Culinary Federation Young Chef of the Year 2013 Competition." Hospitality Catering News. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.
  • "Tampa Bay International Curry Festival." Tampa Bay International Curry Festival. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2013. .
  • Worrell, Tess. "RoundAbout Entertainment Guide - Madison Ribberfest - KCBS Pro Cooking Competition." RoundAbout Entertainment Guide - Madison Ribberfest - KCBS Pro Cooking Competition. Kentuckiana Publishing, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.

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