Calling all cooks: Try your hand at fair contests

Aug 19 2013 - 4:29pm

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Valerie Phillips photo
Last year Laurie Wilberg, of Salt Lake City, won the first-ever Utah’s Own Funeral Potatoes Contest, by giving her recipe a Southwestern twist and a lot of Utah-made ingredients.
Valerie Phillips photo
Last year Laurie Wilberg, of Salt Lake City, won the first-ever Utah’s Own Funeral Potatoes Contest, by giving her recipe a Southwestern twist and a lot of Utah-made ingredients.

If you're a creative cook who would like a little extra dough (as in the money type), I recommend entering some of the cooking contests at the Utah State Fair.

For the indoor cook-offs, you could end up with as much as $300 for a recipe that takes first place. In some contests, the winners go on to compete nationally. Even if you don't win one of the top prizes, many contests give product samples, aprons or coupons to entrants. Also, you get free entry to the fair.

The lists of contests and rules can be found online at www.utah-state-fair.com. Click on the Exhibitors button and go to "Indoor Cook-Offs" and "Outdoor Cook-Offs." Some of the outdoor contests require an entry fee.

I've judged these contests for almost 20 years. While the super-popular Ghirardelli contest used to attract more than 30 entries, other contests ended up with only a half-dozen. So in those cases, your odds of walking away with a prize are pretty good. Sadly, Ghirardelli isn't sponsoring a contest this year.

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