Official 2017 Cook-Off Rules

GENERAL RULES. Cooks may reside anywhere in the world, but all entries must contain citrus and/or celery as an ingredient. All cooks must submit a $16 entry fee along with a registration form and a copy of the cook-off recipe no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. Recipes may be e-mailed (preferred) or sent via regular hard mail to 6007 Lake Charm Circle, Oviedo, FL 32765. There are 8 openings in each division. We will recognize the all cooks under the age of 12, and they will be intermingled with older chefs. Junior chefs may enter any division and will have the opportunity to win standard prizes competing on the same footing as all the other cooks.

DIVISIONS. New this year, instead of the divisions being segregated by Citrus and Celery, we are organizing by parts of the meal. Each chef must choose which of the following categories best fits his or her recipe, and some artistic leeway will be given. If the Chairman of the Cook-Off determines that a chef’s division choice makes no sense, the Chairman may unilaterally reassign the dish to a more common sense division. The divisions are (1) Starters, Sides and Salads, (2) Main Course, (3) Desserts, and (4) Liquid Refreshment.

PRESENTATION. Dishes may be presented in any manner that the chef sees fit. Cooks are NOT allowed to be on site when the Judge’s Choice awards are in process (10:20 to 11:25). However, cooks are encouraged to participate in helping serve up their dishes during the People’s Choice Awards.

PORTIONS. Up to 108 judges will be sampling each recipe. Four of those judges’ opinions will comprise the scores for the Judges Choice Award. They will have the opportunity to sample as much as necessary to fully evaluate the quality of an entry. The remaining 100 judges will determine the winners of the People’s Choice Award. They will be using toothpicks and ice cream sampler spoons to draw their portions and will have only one shot at evaluating favorites. Therefore, if a cook believes that the community’s opinion of his or her recipe is important, then that cook will want to be sure to bring enough for everyone to have a  taste. You may bring as much or as little as you desire, however all samples, regardless of the recipe, will be of roughly equal size to eliminate portion size as a factor in the voting process. After the 100 Community Judges collect their samples, we allow others to come through the line to try samples, and the crowd always appreciates when there is enough to share with more people.

SET-UP. All entries must be set up no later than 10:20 a.m. on Saturday, March 11, 2017. Cooks may begin setting up no earlier than 9:20 a.m. Health Department regulations prohibit cooking on site. Each recipe will be allocated a space 18 inches wide and 14 inches deep to display the plated entry. Additional portions and any equipment may be stored under the tables and in an area designated for that recipe (that area, like the presentation, will measure 18 inches wide and 14 inches deep). A dark green tablecloth will be provided as a backdrop for all dishes and you may decorate on top of it if you wish.

LABELING. The Citrus & Celery Committee will label all entries with the recipe name, but not the cook’s name. Entries containing both citrus AND celery will be marked as containing both. Masking tape and markers will be available on site to label additional dishes that a cook may wish to bring to accommodate serving samples to community judges.

PUBLICITY. A list of all cooks and recipes will be available at the physical contest site, though a list telling which cook made which recipe will not be available until after the cook-off results have been announced. We realize that during the community judging, cooks and their recipes will become obvious, and we’re ok with that.

JUDGING. There are two types of judges. “Traditional” judges are preselected members of the community who are invited to assist in determining the winner because of their outstanding commitment to the Oviedo Community or their special skill or training in fine cuisine. “Community” judges are self-selected members of the community who are interested in sampling delicious foods and determining the Menu of the Year.

TRADITIONAL  JUDGES. There will be three Traditional Judges per Division, and each judge’s score will count for 20% of the cook’s total score. Traditional judges will rate dishes based taste and creativity and will rank the receipes from great to greatest.

COMMUNITY JUDGES. There will be 100 Community Judges, and the collective opinion of these people will be added to the scores of the Traditional Judges to determine a winner (and will, collectively, count as 25% of the score). Community Judges will rate dishes by sampling as many of the entries in the cook-off tent as tempt them and selecting a single favorite dish in each division. Community judges will receive no further instruction than to pick a favorite dish in each division. Judges may judge based on looks, taste, decorations, or whatever criteria the judge deems important. Votes will be cast directly with the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections who will be on site at Taste of Oviedo.

JUDGE QUALIFICATIONS. Judges need not live in Oviedo. Traditional judges will consist of (1) the Mayor of Oviedo, (2) the President of the Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce or designee, (3) a designee of The Oviedo Preservation Project, (4) a designee from the Oviedo Historical Society, (5 & 6) two cooks known for catering and cooking in Oviedo city limits, and (7 & 8) two members of the community who are known for thoughtful consideration of flavors. Community judges consist of the first 100 people to volunteer to donate $2+ per division (and thereby obtain a plate, silverware, and ballot). Judging entitles the participant to a Community Judge Badge and a taste of all entries in the division selected. Relatives of cooks and cooks may be judges as well.  Not all of the food will fit on a single plate, so we encourage judges to plan adequate time to progress through each division.

SERVING. After the Traditional Judges have sampled all entries, the Citrus and Celery Committee, along with the chefs, will prepare 100 bite-sized servings so the Community Judges can get samples efficiently. Each cook should either plan to be on site to help with this task (a smile goes a long way in getting votes 😉 or make sure that his Cook Ambassador knows the whereabouts of any additional portions that may be available for this phase of competition. Cooks are encouraged to bring either pre-portioned samples (using the Official Portion Guidelines) or tools that they consider best-suited for that purpose (so the volunteers scooping portions don’t have to guess the cook’s intentions. For example, green salads with multiple ingredients might not reflect the “perfect” bite when portioned by someone other than the chef).

SCORING. Each Traditional Judges’ score will count for 20% of the cook’s score. The Community Judges’ collective votes will be added to get to the other 20% of the score. The Grand Prize will be calculated by equally comparing a recipe’s popularity with the Traditional Judges and Community Judges, as determined to be supremely fair by the Counting Committee, which will have no ties to anyone in the Cook-Off.

PRIZES. There will a winner in each of the 4 Divisions, and one of those winners will be named Duda Professional Taste Grand Prize Winner. Each Division Winner will receive $250 and the Grand Prize Winner will receive an additional $250 (for a total of $500).

CONTACT INFORMATION. Please visit www. for more information on the Citrus & Celery Cook-Off. You may also reach the Committee via e-mail at, 407-365-8888 or by sending a letter to 6007 Lake Charm Circle, Oviedo, FL 32765.

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