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GKlose

patrol cooking competition

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My mind has been churning away today -- earlier this week, at a district committee meeting, the activities chair was talking about an upcoming camporee where the theme will be backpacking. He was asking for help with some competition ideas, and when he was asking about a backpacking cooking competition I told him it would be right up my alley for judging.

 

So I've been churning away on some ideas. I want to establish some scoring parameters ahead of time...nutrition, weight, utensil simplicity, style of cooking, ease of cooking, quality (taste/flavor), etc. Whatever I can dream up. The idea would be easy scoring with 3 or so judges, and maybe use taste/flavor score as a tie-breaker (and, if needed, weight as a second tie-breaker).

 

I'm thinking about asking for a recipe to be submitted prior to meal prep starting, and also asking them to bring their ingredients to be weighed in (so everyone has equal footing on a common scale). Weight, of course, would have to be a per-person thing. It takes more to feed 8 scouts than it does 5 scouts, for example.

 

One place I'm stumped: some patrols may want to use freeze-dried backpacking food that is commonly available. But I wouldn't want to put that on the same footing as something that is scratch-made out of grocery store ingredients. Also -- I don't want to dictate scratch only. Maybe bonus points for grocery store style? I'm not sure.

 

We haven't talked about awards yet, but the overall camporee might declare a winning patrol. I'd like to do something special for just the cooking competition. Two ideas I've come up with are giving the winner a copy of a cookbook, such as One-Pot Gourmet, or something like that. Or the other idea is to take a cheap mess kit lid and handle and spray paint it gold, label it, and call it something like the coveted "Golden Mess Kit Award", so it can be used again and again. Something goofy like that. I'd like the whole thing to be fun, not daunting.

 

Anyone have any other ideas?

 

Thanks,

Guy

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ho fast do you need info? My dist. chair want a district cookoff and the rules will be published within a month.

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Perhaps a common list of ingredients, then the patrol invents their own meal.

 

Prize: something cool to hang from the patrol flag

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Figure in cooking method as well ie; if patrol uses a homemade soda can stove give extra points.

 

Maybe add Patrol Spirit, judged by teamwork.

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Another take might be to do a prescribed menu (jambalaya, spaghetti, or whatever) and let the patrols choose the ingredients to make the dish(es). In addition to taste, you could also use other grading parameters (simplicity, lowest cost, scratch-made, etc.).

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How many Patrols? How many judges? say, 3 tour around to each Patrol site and sample cuisine? Deadline for cooking finish ("Meal must be ready to serve at 6pm")? Add points (so many for this plus so many for that) or take away points (start with 100, deduct 2 for each pot/utensil used in cooking, 3 off for bark in the ragoo, etc.)? Extra credit for serving and ambience of meal setting? Patrol sits together at a hand built lashed table or scattered around tent site? Does sanitary prep count? Overall hygiene? Hand wash station? Does Clean up count? Camp stove or Camp fire? Charcoal or only wood?

Camp Kitchen Safety: everyone Totin' Chip equipped? Fire prevention equipped? Patrol Style points: Chef hats, aprons, etc. Grace said?

 

 

Are they listed in the Mobil Guide? Give ""STARS"" for outstanding Haut Scout Cuisine!!

 

Bone Appetitee!(This message has been edited by SSScout)

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Thanks, everyone, for the input --

 

We had a planning meeting last night, and I found out a little more from the chair. He wants to keep the competition a little more open-ended than I had been working on. I'm not sure exactly what that means yet, but I'll be working on a second draft this week and see what he thinks.

 

So, this will be at a district camporee with a backpacking theme. There may be 12 to 16 patrols there, and we'll all probably be in the area about the size of a football field. Experience tends to be all over the map (for example, this kind of competition will be very new for my troop -- very much out of their comfort zone).

 

One guy at the meeting suggested weighing kitchen utensils, such as pots, but I didn't want to go down that path. I wouldn't want to give an edge to a patrol or patrol member that can afford a titanium pot, for example, when everyone else is using a 2L stainless steel pot (or something like that).

 

Similarly, I'd like to make sure that using commercial backpacking food doesn't score as highly as someone who uses some creativity. We may look at total cost of food (I'm still thinking that one through).

 

I came up with several scoring categories, and added them to a flyer, with descriptions, but the Activity chair thought it was being too pedantic, I think. I had categories (and I was thinking something like scoring 10 to 20 points per category) like nutrition, food weight, ease of prep, hygiene/cleanup, leave no trace (how much packaging and waste left over), final food quality and creativity. I like the "patrol spirit" aspect that's been suggested, so I'll try and work that in, too.

 

I'm planning on a pre-cook weigh-in (final weight divided by # of patrol members, to put everyone on an equal footing), and then a walk-around by judges to observe the "ease of prep", method, etc. aspect. I'd like to see a somewhat balanced trail dinner, nutritionally-speaking, so that a patrol that puts some thought into that might score a little higher.

 

One thing I want to avoid -- a pet peeve of mine -- is to develop a detailed scoring method, but then keep it hidden from those competing. Wouldn't it be lousy, for example, to find out that "nutrition" is one scoring category when it isn't specified up front?

 

While the activity chair wants the event to be more open-ended, I'd like to avoid keeping the scoring system hidden.

 

Thanks again, everyone -- I really appreciate the input.

 

Guy

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In our troop, the PLC chooses a theme for the Sat evening meal for the montlhy campout. Asian, Mexican, Italian, Seafood etc. Each patrol is free to make any dish they desire that could possibly fit the theme. Troop budget says they are allowed $4 per person per meal.

 

The patrols prepare, cook and serve the meal. They make a presentation serving for the judges, usually the SM and 2 or 3 ASMs. They can make the presentation as simple as asking the judges to come by and they will serve on to the judges mess kit or make a presentation plate and present ala Iron Chef.

 

The judges sample the food. Sometimes it is obvious who should not win because the rice is undercooked and crunchy, the food has no taste, burned, etc. Over the past year, the quality of the cooking and presentation has risen considerably. The judging is now often very close.

 

There have also been creative entries for the theme. One patrol entered Corn and Chicken served in a Coconut shell for the Seafood or as they explained the "C-food" theme. The food was bland but the creativty was worth some points. Duing the Asian theme one patrol served fried rice in the center of the mess kit, with steamed brocolli atop and sauted shrimp tails draped over the rim of the plate. For dessert they offered a rice crispy square with a swedish fish atop wrapped by fruit by the foot in a sushi fashion.

 

Last month one patrol offered grilled salmon in a teriakyi sauce. Wonderfully tasty but it was the ONLY item they had for their meal. While the taste was supreme, they lacked a complete meal so did not win.

 

We award "points" for presentation, creativity, representation of the entire food pryamid, and taste. We do not have a formal point system. More of a general concensus amoung the judges. We have been awarding POUVs (Prizes of Unspeakable Value) to the winning patrol members. The POUVs are items of about $1-$2 that the troop buys from Dollar stores, CheaperThanDirt.com, and SportsmansGuide.com Mostly it has been about bragging rights within the troop.

 

Ideas that have been floating around for themes including: all food must be prepared in a Dutch Oven, At least one item must be prepared in a box oven, all patrols are given the same list of ingrediants several weeks in advance,

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Our Troops 10th annual cooking competition campout is coming up in 2 weeks. Dinner is usually a fairly big deal and lunch is more of the fun stuff. One year they selected "backpack lunch" as the theme. There were guidelines and some of the patrols really stretched it by having items that needed a cast iron skillet. The PLC saw this as an oppurtunity for a lession on backpacking. The morning of the event they announced a 3 mile hike which included lunch. Everyone had to pack what they were making and hike it out into the field and prepare it there. The one guy insisted that he take the skillet along with his full pack. Interesting.

 

For prizes we get a small Lodge cast iron fry pan (it's actually a Lodge ash tray) and printout the year of the event on a sticker and put it on for the winning patrols flag. One patrol has 4 and they are not shy about making them klank when they come to meetings with their flag.

 

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I think that it would be cool to have the golden Dutch oven. Take an old Dutch oven, or maybe a small one like the sauce pan, and paint it gold. the winning patrol keeps it and must pass it on everyyear.

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