Fish, Fish And More Fish

Fish, Fish And More Fish

This time I’m in Pensacola to judge a fish meal contest! What’s interesting about this contest is that the contestants are cooking the fish that they caught themselves. All fresh and delicious. I arrived kinda early, so I had my moments to talk with the fishermen cooks to get them to know a little better.

Some of them were hobbyists, the other were veteran fishers. I was curious to see that one lad had some kind of sonar devices by himself. I asked him “what’s that thing?”, and he told me it’s a fish finder – device to help find where the fish folk hang in the water. I’m always amazed what people might invent in order to make their lives easier. Cool!

Some time later the contestants arrived with three bags of fish to choose and cook with. I could smell the cooking process of the fish and saw many diverse ingredients being used. This was a promising start!

Shrimp Dishes

The first contest dealt with shrimp and I needed to judge each dish on taste, texture, presentation and uniqueness. The first dish I tried was shrimp and calamari salad with Vidalia lemon dressing. I loved the combination of the shrimp and calamari and the dressing had a tangy taste to it.

After that I tried the shrimp and smoked salmon mini pot pies and I couldn’t get enough of those. I tried the shrimp and green bell pepper wraps in whole wheat pita pockets but I wasn’t crazy about them. In the end I voted for the shrimp mini pot pies and I really hope the contestant decides to sell them in stores nationwide because they taste great.


to eat or not to eat that is the questionThe only thing I don’t like about trout is all of the bones in them but overall trout is a good fish to have. I tried a baked trout with Indian pineapple curry and it was served with fingerling potatoes. I thought this was very delicious and I wanted seconds. The next trout dish I sampled was trout and oyster gumbo, and since I’m from Louisiana I was eager to eat it.I must say I was a bit skeptical but actually it tasted wonderful. Finally, I tried the smoked trout with roasted white corn and pickle salsa and of all the trout dishes, this was the most amazing. I voted for this dish in the trout contest.


You can do so much with crabmeat and that’s why I cook with it a lot. The first crabmeat dish I tried was the crabmeat burgers on foccaccia bread and it was interesting. The next crabmeat dish I ate was crabmeat inside of chicken broth-flavored gelatin molds with onion dip. This was a little taxing because I actually hate savory gelatin but I love fruit gelatin.


Overall the fish contest was fantastic and I had a great time judging the meals. As a food judge I get to attend and participate in different contests throughout the year. Some contests are more exciting than others but overall I love what I do. Sometimes I have to spend quite a bit of time in the CrossFit gym doing WODs from CrossFitWay but I’m not obsessed with weight control. As long as I have good health overall I’m not worried. The best part is that I can attend these contests for free.

How to Judge a Food Contest?

Nowadays, different food contests are being organized around the world due their increasing popularity among common people. Therefore, demand for judges is increasing too. Judging these food contests is very important since success of any food contests mostly depends on the judges. An ideal judge of food contest follows some important guidelines.

Before Contest Starts:

It is important to get a clear idea about food contest rules before the contest starts. Besides, judges must study to have more idea about recipes, foods, ingredients, garnishing, cooking apparatus etc. Try to be as professional as possible and set your personal preferences aside.

During The Contest:

Talk to other judges to know if there is any last-minute change in instructions. Have your judging sheet ready. It is good to judge foods according to their difficulties. Get introduced with the contestants at the beginning of the food contest.

Judging Steps:

Time – First step in judging is to see if the food prepared by contestants is within the time allocated according to the contest rules.

See – Look for the presentation of foods along with color, garnishing etc. The look of food should be attractive. However, do not hesitate to penalize for excessive décor or inappropriate or extra use of garnishing.

Smell – Try to smell the aroma of foods. Also check if there is any burned smell coming from the food. Do not give extra point for using excessive flavoring or seasoning.

Inspect – To get the clear picture of a food you must cut the dish and expose the bottom, middle and top layers along with sides and center to inspect. Look for burned, off-colored, overcooked, undercooked or raw portion in the dish. Also check for evenness in color and cooking. Give more points for even cooking, consistent surface texture & color, pleasant aroma. On the other hand, penalize for soggy, tough, raw, burned spots, crumbling or brittle results, spotty cooking.

Taste – To taste all the dishes prepared by contestants it is important that you keep your hunger even for the last dish to be tasted. Taste for all the ingredients that mentioned in the recipe. Check the flavor if that is too strong. Also check if all the ingredients are perfectly cooked. Find out if there is any ingredient used that is not mentioned. Also penalize for missing ingredients. Try to taste a smallest amount of servings that are enough to judge a dish.

Make Notes –You might forget specific observation about an item after tasting few others. That is why it is important to write down any notes about dishes when you are judging.

Double Check Scores – Double check your scores for different dishes. Do not hesitate to taste again a dish if you are confused about that.

How to Win Competitive Eating Contests

How to Win Competitive Eating Contests

I’m a major foodie, so I guess it only makes sense that I’ve been to a fair share of competitive eating contests. Usually it’s just to watch other people stuffing their faces, but I’ve also actively participated in a contest before. It was a pizza eating contest and I do love pizza, so I guess I had a natural advantage over the other eaters. I won that time and got a serger for my efforts – get the facts about serger and read the full info here about what serger I won.

I’m skipping any details here since most of the people who visit my blog are looking to read about food, not sewing machines. That said, I think it’s a good time to get back to the topic, which is how to win competitive eating contests. I didn’t undergo any special training, but I probably should have and I realize how lucky I was to win against other people doing some of the things I’m going to mention here. The best place to start, I think, is with a popular bit of competitive eating myth.

eat as fast as you canmCutting back on the amount you eat before an eating contest is not the way to gain an edge. When you eat less than normal, your stomach literally shrinks a bit because it isn’t working at capacity like it ought to be. If this goes on for a long time, your stomach can actually lose inches of itself as the elastic bits pull in and the organ compacts itself. I don’t think I need to tell you that having less room to put food into means you can take in less food, but I’ve gone and said it just in case.

So don’t starve yourself in the days or weeks leading up to a competitive eating contest. Instead, you should actually be eating more than you regularly do. It doesn’t have to be high calorie food either – you could load up on stuff which is basically free and full of fiber, like all kinds of vegetables for instance. You’ll keep your stomach stretched and ready to accept a greater load of food than normal, and you’ll also not blow up and gain a bunch of weight because of it.

Lots of people think competitive eaters are just gluttons, but that’s not true. It’s a physical test, just like many other sports, where the player (or eater in this case) must outperform the other people they are playing against to win. Any edge can help you to beat your opponent, but keeping your stomach stretched is no little edge.

Last but not least, make sure you don’t load up on water during the event. Sure, they provide you with all the water you can drink, but in my experience, that’s to help the food go down more quickly. If your stomach gets full of water, you’ll be cramping or busting your gut long before you can claim a victory in any competitive eating contest. That said, don’t be afraid to reach for your cup if taking a drink means you’ll be able to move ahead and keep eating.