I think I have been judging people longer then anyone! Really let me explain. 30 years ago I was asked to judge food contest at the largest county fair in the nation. Los Angeles. After a number of years I became the culinary coordinator and had a team of judges with many contests daily. This went on for 28 years. The longest of any of my "Jobs". Today I judge contests for large food companies and the like. Over the summer I was a Judge Critic for ABC's new upcoming show The Taste with Anthony Bordian. After spending days criss-crossing the country seeing thousands of hopefuls wanting to win the limelight, here are my top ten tips for entering a contest. Also here is a new baking show casting this next week. www.cbsbakingshow.com
2. Show up about 2 hours after the start of the open call. The first few hours are people that camp overnight. They are not fresh, their food is not fresh and you want to be fresh! 3. Pick a dish that will hold well for a few hours (no refrigerated things).
4. Don't go crazy... Make something that you do well and is simple. A great butter cookie will win over a complicated pastry that is just so so.
5. Don't go for any of the new flavor combinations such as Salted Caramel, Chocolate and Chilies.. These will be flavors that many people will use. Set yourself out of the normal.
6. Be very very excited, right with you get out of your car, don't loose the smile. People are watching you and you don't even know it.
7. Wear age and size appropriate clothing.
8. You get only a small area to show off your creation and a little bit (normally 3 minutes) to plate and present your dessert.. Be ready. If lets say you are doing a chocolate cake with fudge frosting. Have a pedestal cake plate with the chocolate cake and a slice out, with and a small dessert plate with the slice and a fork on it.
9. You can "theme" yourself and your dessert. Make lemon bars and have an apron on with lemons.
10. Be natural! most of the time your score is 50% of the food and 50% of your personality and story. Have something exciting to say that is as exciting as your dessert.