• Can I be a cook and a judge too? YES! However, to preserve the integrity of the competition, Traditional Judges are selected well in advance of the cook-off and may NOT also be contestants.
  • Can’t this thing be rigged with Community Judges? Maybe, but with each judge having to vote for a favorites in each division to have his or her ballot count, it’d be risky business trying to rig the Cook-Off. (Yep, that’s right – Community Judges MUST vote for 4 favorites. If you only vote for 1, your ballot counts as improperly filled out and we don’t count the votes…we do that to make it harder to rig).
  • I’m using Citrus and Celery in my recipe – will I get bonus points? Not necessarily, but the Community Judges may give you extra props for the effort :)
  • How much of my recipe do I need to bring? It would be wise to bring enough to give samples to 108 people to make sure all judges get a try. You may also want to bring about 50 extra bites so the cooks and volunteers can try some as well. Please refer to our Serving Guidelines for recommendations.
  • Why do you charge an entry fee? To help cover the costs of running the competition (renting a giant tent) and to make sure you remember to show up. (TOPP is run entirely by volunteers, and members don’t keep a dozen spare green tablecloths lying around, we have to get them special for the Cook-Off.)
  • Do I have to be present to win? No, but local newspapers and magazines have taken pictures of the winners in the past, and it would be a shame for you to be missing.
  • Can I use alcohol in my recipe? Sure! But keep in mind that many of our community judges are under 21. To comply with festival insurance guidelines, we will have to station a volunteer at your entry to check ID for everyone who may want to sample it. That could be a little cumbersome, but it also could be a giant hit with the crowd….your guess is as good as ours!


  • How can I be a Traditional Judge? Become Mayor of Oviedo, President of the Chamber, Teacher of the Year at Oviedo or Hagerty High School, friends with the President of the Oviedo Historical Society, an Oviedo-based chef and caterer, or a person who is so well rounded that The Oviedo Preservation Project selects you as its designee.
  • I signed up to be a Community Judge. What criteria am I suppose to use to judge entries? Just pick your favorite entry from each of the Divisions, (1) Starters, (2) Main Course, (3) Dessert, and (4) Liquid Refreshment. You’ll have an opportunity to sample all the entries, and to view the displays that the cooks put together. You can judge on whatever criteria you think makes for a good, representative entry. You may skip some if you like, but you can’t get double servings of any entries

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