N.C. State Fair’s special cooking contests are here and more delicious than ever

For home cooks who are looking to show off your talents, your time to shine is here! The N.C. State Fair’s special cooking contests have been announced, so it’s that time to perfect your recipes for the fair competitions. With a little luck you can take home the top prize. This year’s competitions will be headed by new superintendent Lisa Lincoln.

Long time participants will recognize Lincoln, she’s worked with former superintendent Lisa Prince for 13 years, so she’s familiar with the competitions and many competitors. Each day brings a new contest and a new team of judges to sample the entries and decide on the best of the best. Guest tasters have even included local media personalities, chefs and Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

“The fair is always so much fun for me and I don’t think I could pick a favorite contest, I really and truly enjoy them all,” Lincoln said. “There’s so many creative cooks out there and I look forward to all the new recipes they bring and the sponsors appreciate the contestants highlighting their product.” Lincoln says that she’s met some extremely enjoyable people over the years who love cooking and this is their time to shine.

The goal for home cooks who enter the special cooking contests is to find the best way to highlight the star ingredient of each competition. But, there are a few other things hopefuls should keep in mind before entering their culinary delights.

Lincoln offer the following tips on how you could take home some dough at the fair:

  • Read the rules carefully. Make sure your recipe meets the contest requirements and that you know how your dish will be judged. Most judges focus on taste, creativity and ease of preparation, but every contest is slightly different.
  • Your dish should be visually appealing. The judges will only give top marks to contestants who supply carefully presented dishes that look appetizing.
  • Your dish must taste delicious. Dishes not only have to look fantastic, they also have to be packed full of flavor. Remember, this is your chance to show off your culinary skills and impress the judges.
  • Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. The judges want to enjoy your dish at the peak of its perfection, whether it is the next great American burger or amazing side salad. Keep those insulated coolers and ice packs on hand so you can serve up your best dish.
  • Remember to have fun. While it is a competition, the fair’s special cooking competitions are a celebration of food and fun.
  • Last, but not least, relax. Once you turn in your entry, the hard work is over. You get free admission to the fair with your entry, so on the day of the contest, drop your dish off for judging, walk around and enjoy the fair, then head back to the commercial and education buildings to hear the winners announced. You may be surprised to hear your name called for that ribbon, and you might win some cash you weren’t expecting. If you don’t win, that’s OK, too, because there’s always next year.

2019 NC State Fair Special Cooking Contest Schedule

Thurs.,Oct. 17N.C. Peanut 
Growers Association
Peanuts Go 
International Recipe 
4 p.m.
Oct. 18
House-Autry MillsBring Your Flavor: Fried Mac n’ Cheese Bites10 a.m.
Oct. 19
N.C. Sweet Potato 
Dietary Restrictions
Recipe Contest
10 a.m.
Oct. 20
N.C. Vegetable 
Recipe Challenge2 p.m.
Oct. 21
N.C. Apple Growers 
Apple Dessert Recipe 
10 a.m.
Oct. 22
N.C. Egg AssociationEGGcellent Breakfast on 
the Go Recipe Contest
10 a.m.
Oct. 23
N.C. Pork CouncilTar Heel Double Pork 
10 a.m.
Oct. 24
N.C. Pecan 
Pecan Breakfast Recipe 
10 a.m.
Oct. 25
N.C. Beef CouncilChampionship10 a.m.
Oct. 26
N.C. Soybean
Beat Food Boredom, 
Cook with Soy Recipe 
10 a.m.
Oct. 27
King Arthur FlourBaking Contest2 p.m.

About Fried Oreo

On the blog I go by Fried Oreo (AKA Emily Hughes). At the Fair, you'll find me checking out the live music or hanging out in Heritage Circle. My absolute favorite part of the Fair is getting a taste of all the different kinds of food! Counting down the days until it all begins!

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