People dream up all kinds of combinations in the kitchen when they're down to only a few ingredients in their fridge, but this creativity normally spawns from necessity. For a select few though, pairing the most unusual ingredients together into a tasty concoction is a challenge at which they excel.
However, creating alone in the kitchen isn't nearly as satisfying as doing so for the benefit of the public. Therefore, cooking competitions and cooking contests have become a great venue for enterprising chefs to share their wild recipes with willing taste testers.
America, it seems, is full of cooking competitions for unusual pallets. When it comes to a wild recipe contest, it's hard to pick just one. Here are 6 cooking competitions that will make you wonder.
1. Bacon Cook-Off
This walk-around tasting event is anticipated annually in Chicago. It is a jaunt down bacon memory lane and the entrance gate into bacon-y memories.
Unlike your first bite of bacon which may have been cold with congealed grease clinging to the rasher, Baconfest features only the best. With plates starring bacon and mixologists stirring up conventionality with bacon-based cocktails, you are sure to get more than you bargained for.
The only question is who will win the best of the best bacon creations? Get your notepad ready for delicious new recipes from these inventive chefs in the competitive cooking arena.
2. Road Kill Cookoff
Marlinton, West Virginia
Every autumn, West Virginia hosts one of the most unusual cooking competitions around. It features road kill. Sure you probably shouldn't whip up a stew from an animal you found lying on the side of the road. And, don't worry, the competitors aren't doing that. It's more the kinds of animals that become roadkill that are featured during this contest.
If you've ever had a hankering to try squirrel gravy on biscuits or teriyaki marinated bear, you need to be at this festival. All cooking will begin at 9AM and contestants have until noon to whip up something that will knock the judges on their butts.
This is one contest we'd love to see turned into a reality cooking competition and the grand prize could be a brand new smoker.
3. Duck Gumbo Cook-Off
This Thanksgiving tradition has become so popular that Bud Light now sponsors it. To compete, chefs must ensure that their gumbo pots are able to hold three quarts of gumbo and 50 percent of the meat used in the recipe must be duck. We're already salivating at the thought.
We're already salivating at the thought. Who needs baked goods when you can have duck gumbo, right?
Make sure that you get there early. Teams start cooking at 10 in the morning and final judging takes place at 3 in the afternoon.
4. Grilled Cheese Invitational
Los Angeles, California
Every year, 200 contestants get to relive their childhood dreams of creating the ultimate grilled cheese at the Grilled Cheese Invitational. This isn't just grilling up a mere grilled cheese in a pan, however. According to the house rules, to play the game, you will have to submit great food specifically to one of the 4 categories:
Love, American Style - White bread, butter, orange cheese (American or Cheddar). NOTHING ELSE.
The Missionary Position - Any type of bread, butter, and cheese. NO ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS.
The Kama Sutra - A sandwich of the savory nature, with any type of bread, butter and cheese PLUS additional ingredients, and the interior ingredients must be at least 60% cheese.
The Honey Pot - Any kind of bread, any kind of butter, and any kind of cheese, and the interior ingredients of the sandwich must be at least 60 percent cheese, PLUS additional ingredients, and with an overall flavor that is sweet and would best be served as dessert.
5. Gilroy Garlic Festival
Do you really like garlic? No, I mean really like garlic. Well, then you might want to enter this contest yourself. One of the most well-known cooking competitions in the country that it open to amateurs, the Great Garlic Cookoff is the ultimate place to introduce your garlic-inspired recipes.
All recipes are welcome. From soup to dessert and American to Thai, there are no limits to your creativity. Recent winners include sarsaparilla Glazed Wild West Burgers and Southwest Sweet Potatoes and Crispy Pork Belly with Caramelized Onion and Fig Agrodolce and Creamy Polenta.
If you manage to win, you'll walk away $5,000 richer. How's that for cash prizes?
Unfortunately, this cook-off no longer exists. Running from 1976 to 2007, the competition had to be canceled due to trademark issues.
During its run, however, many extremely interesting recipes were cooked up and tested. Some noteworthy ones included SPAM ice cream, Moo Goo Gai SPAM, GuacaSPAMole, chicken-fried SPAM, SPAMguini, and SPAMalama Ding Dong, a concoction made with the pink colored meat, whipped cream, and chocolate.
Which of these contests would you join if you had to choose? Let us know in the Comments section below.