Your ways with chicken always get raves at parties. No one has a party without your special dessert. Everyone wants your barbecue skills. Test those skills against others in the country and see how you stack up. National cooking contests are getting bigger every year and the prizes can be serious amounts of money. From chicken to cakes and a lot more in between, there are a variety of contests where you can compete for cash prizes and bragging rights.
National chicken cooking contest
First held in June of 1949, the National Chicken Cooking Contest is the longest running cooking contest in the country. A biennial contest, the grand prize is £32,500. The recipes must use chicken of some type, but the rules allow use of raw, cooked or ground chicken. There are finals for all 50 states, and finalists then go on to the national competition. For entry, go to chickencookingcontest.com.
Possibly the most well-known cooking contest of all, the Pillsbury Bake-Off has been held since 1949. Each year two finalists compete from each state in a 100-member contest. The winner receives £650,000, plus merchandise prizes. There are four categories in the contest, and recipes must include two specific ingredients from a given list. For more information go to pillsbury.com/bakeoff
National Beef Cook Off
For professional and amateur cooks, the National Beef Cook Off is the premiere beef cooking contest. Professional winners receive recognition in national food festivals and amateur top recipes can receive up to £16,250. There is a category for professionals, one for teens and two other categories, as well. For more information, go to beefcookoff.org.
Jif Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich
Open to children from 6 to 12 years of age, this contest picks the best new peanut butter sandwich variation each year. Children can earn up to £16,250 in scholarship money. Judges will pick finalists, and the final recipes will be voted upon online. Each entry must include the contest form, recipe and photograph of the finished sandwich. For additional information, go to jif.com.
Taste of Home
Taste of Home magazine has an online site with monthly national cooking contests. The categories are varied, from tempting tenderloin to five-ingredient favourites. The prizes are around £325 to £390, and there are one or two contests per month. For more information or to enter, go to tasteofhome.com/Contests/Recipe-Contests.