Grab the attention of the culinary team at Dole Packaged Foods and you could just be the next contender for a $25,000 grand prize! Sounds kind of bizarre and outrageous winning that kind of money for a recipe, but that’s exactly what the Dole Cook Off does—it gives talented, creative and adventurous home cooks in America the chance to make dreams come true! I know because it happened to me, and I’m going to share three ideas with you on creating a recipe that could be a stand out and be a potential winner this year!
know the company
First of all, when you’re competing in a cooking contest, you need to know the company, their history, background, mission and product line—what makes their products different, better? Are their products ones that you would feed your family every day? Do they meet the standards of good food, health, and nutrition for you? By doing your due diligence on the sponsoring company, you build a foundation of trust and confidence—if I have these two building blocks in place, then I have freedom to create and to share with others recipes that can be award-winning.
So, take the time to research and read about Dole—understand more about where their products are grown, who handles the pineapples and other fruits, what goes into those cans and their relationship with their farming partners. For example, they take nutrition and the purity of their food very seriously and are committed to always packing healthy, non-GMO products. In addition to being non-GMO, all of Dole Packaged Food’s packaging is 100% BPA free. And, Dole Packaged Foods works with hundreds of independent family
farmers around the world to implement sustainable agricultural practices, ensuring long term supply of quality fruit. It’s all out there, transparent—you just have to do the legwork. This knowledge will help you span beyond your typical recipe development pushing you to the edge where you can stand, gaze the panorama and you see tremendous opportunities!
push the edge
In sifting through thousands of entries, Dole looks for something uniquely different, something that’s probably not quite been done a particular way—whether it’s a spice, and in my case, I traveled (in my mind and with my palate) to Morocco and imagined their fruit paired with ground veal perfectly seasoned with the exotic spice, harissa, or a version of pineapple upside down cake that just knocks your socks off, the recipe(s) you create can’t be hohum or is it humdrum?
If you dig back into the Dole archives online at Dole.com/recipesand find recipes, you’ll see that this company’s been tapping into the home cook for decades—in all probability your Mom and Grandma used Dole products. Recipes used to appear on packaging—the importance of showing the versatility and imagination with the product can’t be underestimated—that’s the bottom line! Anyway, just trust that the typical, what’s been done, dishes that are commonplace will not make the grueling cuts. After all, thousands of entries are typically sent in with recipes, but only THREE make it to California for the Dole Cook-Off.
Why is this important? Unlike so many contests out there that focus on popular votes or a picture, Dole’s CookOff is a sound contest process. The elimination procedure in-house at Dole World Headquarters includes actually preparing potential finalists’ recipes, yes, professional chefs could be reading and cooking your recipe, and having real-people taste and give feedback about it. This contest is truly about a recipe’s flavor, presentation, ingenious use of the Dole product and wow factors that go into ensuring quality and finding food that could be served in Michelin star restaurants!
Dole Packaged Foods is a company that knows and wants to know better their consumer—the home cook—this is the person they respect, the person they want to make happy and satisfy—you’re the boss if truth be told. You’re the person that drives their quality-control and who inspires and motivates their product development. The ‘California Cook Off’ is an affair that’s first-class and truly a competition pitting the best against the best.
Now, this doesn’t mean a first-timer home cook who’s never competed can’t do it—if you’ve got the fire in your belly, the creative juices in your brain, and the will to dream the big dream, then you’re already a competitor and contender. As they announce in NASCAR, ‘Start your engines!’, get on the Dole train and make magic like none other! In the Spring of 2013, I was right where you are now, wondering if I could create the next winning recipe—yeppers, dreams do come true—you just have to believe, work off your bahootie, have brutally honest taste testers, and explore the boholicious Dole universe!
Good luck and break uh leg, my foodie luvs—sure hope that I see some of you in California in June 2014 and that something in this blog post resonated in your head and heart helping you get there~~truly the BEST part of this entire experience is the fabulous new friends you will make—peace & nameste~~ ally
Oh, yes! Here’s my WINNING RECIPE~~JUST CLICK!
This blog is sponsored by Dole Packaged Foods—for a full disclosure statement please click here—the opinions are all those of Ally.