Be in the Know: Black Pot Cook-Off & Cowboy Poetry
Sunday, April 22, 2012, marked the date of our First Annual Black Pot Cook Off and Cowboy Poetry event. As our inaugural event, BOOT wanted to start small and grow it year after year. While this event was small, it ended up being a great success thanks to our cooks, period artisans and performers.
The Black Pot Cook Off kicked off at 11am when the cooking teams gathered for a Cooks Meeting. Important safety and sanitation guidelines were given out and afterwards the cooks went back to their Booths to busily chop, spice and stir their entries! We had five groups of cooks this year. The Professional Division was filled with local Celebrity Chefs, “Constable Wyld Bill” Shipley of Soups, Scoops and More, and Nathan Copeland of Victoria Rose Restaurant. The Amateur Division was filled with local Psychologist Mike Zimmerman and Mike Murphy of American Frontiers. Lastly, our Junior Division was filled by local Boy Scout Troup 354 led by Mike Lancaster. It was their job to time their cooking just perfectly to ensure Judges from the IOT tasted them at the exact right moment.
As the cooks started their long hot competition, visitors to Old Town were able to walk around and enjoy the many sights and entertainers that were invited to the event to add an authentic “Old West” feel. Reuel Darling brought out his team of Blacksmiths, Ree and Perry Coy were there to show off their caning and carving skills, Chris Potzernitz gave demonstrations on saddle making, Kate Ude demonstrated rug hooking and Rebecca Wasson demonstrated lace making. Musical Group Grass Fire and the California State Old Time Fiddlers filled the air with Country and Western favorites, and acclaimed artist Jack Hannah from Sons of the San Joaquin performed in the early afternoon. To round up the event, published Cowboy Poet, Robert Brown, performed his wonderful spoken word poems throughout the day and sold autographed copies of his books.
As the day started to wane the cooking teams brought up their dishes to be judged by Chefs Don Waddell, Kevin and Molly from the IOT Culinary School. Each team was judged based on: the appearance and presentation of their dish; the execution of the recipe; taste and texture; originality and creativity; crowd interaction and the appearance of their Booth.
Winners in each category were:
- Junior Division Champs – Boy Scout Troup 354
- Amateur Division Champs- Mike Zimmerman
- Professional Division Champs – Wyld Bil Shipley
- Best Main Dish – Boy Scout Troup 354 (South by Southeast Chicken)
- Best Side Dish – Boy Scout Troup 354 (Mexican Mac & Cheese)
- Best Bread – Mike Zimmerman (French bread)
- Best Dessert – Wyld Bil Shipley (Berry Walnut Crunch Crumble)
- Best in Show 1st Place – Boy Scout Troup 354
- Best in Show 2nd Place – Mike Zimmerman
- Best in Show 3rd Place – Wyld Bil Shipley
- People’s Choice Award – Mike Zimmerman’s (Beef Bourguignon)
After each dish was presented, Passport Holders were able to taste a sample. With thirteen dishes presented many stomachs were filled with tasty treats.
Looking forward to next year, we hope to have more teams of cooks and more groups of entertainers. We already have Period Artisans who have expressed a desire to return next year and a group of Chuck Wagons who hope to attend. B.O.O.T. would like to thank Evans Feed for their generous sponsorship of the event. Special thanks to Greg Laine and KSKS Country Radio for promoting the event and coming out to greet folks! Heartfelt thanks to the Chefs of the Institute of Technology Culinary Program who gave up their Sunday afternoons to join us and judge the cooking. We couldn’t have done it without them! Thanks to all those who came out to enjoy our First Annual Black Pot Cook Off.
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