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Enter a cooking contest

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Ever entered a cooking contest? Ready to try one?

Back in November, I spoke with Lisa Hanson, Atlanta resident and owner of the former Cabbagetown Market. She had just competed in the Aetna Healthy Food Fight, making it all the way to the finals. Lisa encourages others to participate in these contests and suggested that we publish a list of upcoming contests.

Here are a few contests and casting calls for competitive cooking shows to get you started. Be sure to check contest websites for additional details, regulations and entry forms. Let us know if you enter one and how you do! And if you know of other contests, let us know about those, too.

RITZ Recipe Challenge

  • Details: Develop an original game-day recipe using RITZ crackers.
  • Grand Prize: $20,000 and Guy Fieri autographed jacket
  • Entry Deadline: Feb. 2013

National Cornbread Cook-off

  • Details: Submit your own main-dish cornbread recipe (using Martha White mix) for a chance to compete as one of ten finalists at the National Cornbread Festival on Apr. 30 in South Pittsburg, TN.
  • First Prize: $5000, 30” FiveStar stainless steel range and gifts from sponsors.
  • Entry Deadline: Mar. 1

Sweet n’ Healthy Blogger Recipe Contest

  • Details: Develop a healthy sweet potato recipe and blog about it for your chance to win this contest. The recipe must fall in one of three categories: kid-friendly, vegetarian, or sugar-free.
  • First Prize in each category: $2000
  • Entry Deadline: Mar. 1

Better Homes and Gardens Grilling Showdown Contest

  • Details: Submit an original grilled recipe plus a video of your grilling technique for a chance to compete in the finals at the Better Homes and Gardens Magazine’s and Weber’s Chill and Grill Festival™ in Chicago. Two finalists will each be paired with a celebrity chef to compete against each other in the final challenge. The criteria include:
  1. On-air personality and grilling demo technique (30%)
  2. Recipe appeal/ease of preparation (30%)
  3. Recipe flavor and taste (40%)
  • Grand Prize: $5,000, Weber grill, mention in BHG magazine and appearance on Better TV
  • Entry Deadline: Mar. 15

National Beef Cookoff

  • Details: Create a recipe that demonstrates the benefits and versatility of beef. Recipes should use broadly appealing ingredients and employ simple preparation techniques. Enter a recipe in one of four categories:
  1. 5:30 Dinner Crunch: meals for busy week nights using common ingredients
  2. Retro Recipes Revived: modify an American classic to make it healthier or more convenient for busy families
  3. Fuel Up with Beef: convenient and healthy meals using a lean cut of beef
  4. Stir-Crazy Solutions: stir-fry recipes using a lean cut of beef with vegetables and grains
  • Grand Prize: $25,000 and a trip to the Metropolitan Cooking & Entertaining Show in Washington, D.C.
  • Entry Deadline: April 30

Diabetes Recipe Contest

  • Details: Enter a video of yourself making a diabetes-friendly recipe using a set list of criteria (full list on contest website).
  • Grand Prize: 55” Phillips LCD HDTV
  • Entry Deadline: March 31

Crisco National Pie Championships

  • Details: Enter a pie recipe in one of five categories: amateur, jr. chef (14-17 years old), professional, commercial or independent. Entrants will be granted baking times to demonstrate their recipes on a first-come, first-served basis. See contest website for additional criteria by category and pie type.
  • Grand Prize: Varies by category from $2000 scholarship for jr. chef to $5000 cash for the Amateur category
  • Entry Deadline: March 17

“PB my way” Recipe contest

  • Details: Submit a recipe for a quick and easy main dish featuring peanut butter.
  • Grand Prize: $200 Visa gift card and a case of peanut butter
  • Entry Deadline: March 31

Gluten-Free Recipe Contest

  • Details: Develop a gluten-free recipe and enter in one of three categories: professional chef, home cook, or gluten-free/dairy-free.
  • Grand Prize: $250
  • Entry Deadline: April 15

Pillsbury Bake-off

  • Details: Develop a recipe using two or more eligible Pillsbury products (see contest website for complete list). Enter in one of four categories: Breakfast & Brunch, Entertaining Appetizers, Dinner Made Easy, or Sweet Treats. Contest not open to food professionals, food bloggers, or culinary graduates.
  • Grand Prize: $1,000,000 plus GE kitchen appliances
  • Entry Deadline: April 18

Cupcake Wars

  • Details: Enter for a chance to compete on the Food Network show “Cupcake Wars.”
  • Grand Prize: Winners of each episode earn $10,000 and have their cupcakes served at a Hollywood event.
  • Entry Deadline: ASAP, no deadline given

Top Chef/Top Chef Just Desserts

  • Details: Professional chefs and pastry chefs with talent and “oodles of charisma” are eligible to apply to compete on one of these Bravo TV shows.
  • Deadline: Casting calls now taking place in cities across the country. The closest one is in Charleston on March 4.

–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog

– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team. She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.

7 comments Add your comment

Enter a cooking contest | CookingPlanet

February 25th, 2011
2:24 pm

[...] Enter a cooking contest [...]


February 25th, 2011
3:38 pm

A sweet potato and peanut cupcake fits for several categories lol .

Jenny Turknett

February 25th, 2011
3:41 pm

Go for it, Kirk!

[...] reading here: Enter a cooking contest | Food and More with John Kessler Uncategorized ajc, atlanta, folks, folks-behind, kessler, [...]


February 26th, 2011
8:38 am

There are a lot of websites that will give you links to cooking contests along with the eligibility rules (some are amateur only, some pro-am, some just for kids)

The Ritz one is open to all. Pillsbury bake-off, the mother lode of all cooking contests, is amateur only.

You can get your feet wet by entering a small contest where you’ll win product.

The main thing is — they’re fun! Get a few friends to enter with you and see what happens.


February 26th, 2011
1:52 pm

Mix it up with purple sweet potatoes to win the Sweet n’ Healthy Blogger Recipe Contest.

Thomas S.

March 2nd, 2011
2:48 pm

Feb. 2813 is either a typo or a long time to prepare a recipe for the Ritz Recipe challenge.