COOKOFF: Recipe Fever in America: Heartbreak, Glory, and Big Money on the Competitive Cooking Circuit

Amy Sutherland, Author
Amy Sutherland, Author . Viking $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-670-03251-8
Reviewed on: 09/15/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4406-1514-6
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 352 pages - 978-1-4406-1627-3
Paperback - 333 pages - 978-0-14-200474-6
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-1-4406-5012-3
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In this engrossing look at the competitive cooking circuit, journalist Sutherland follows the trail of competitions and a small group of regular participants. These often fanatical competitors, complete with their own Web sites and chat rooms, square off against the amateur one-time-only contenders at local and national levels across the country. With a healthy dose of humor, Sutherland conveys the inside stories and nail-biting moments as the regulars face off. From developing recipes to matching serving wear to outfits, the bravado of the male players and the disasters and pitfalls that can ensue for both regular and amateur alike, this work takes a long, thorough look at this American phenomenon. From chili contests that are more like frat parties to the National Chicken and National Beef competitions, Sutherland crisscrosses the country and along the way conveys her growing enthusiasm for and fascination with why one recipe or dish wins and another loses. She intersperses winning recipes with the account of her own growing delight, which leads her to enter a competition herself. Doing for cookoffs what Anthony Bourdain did for the restaurant business with Kitchen Confidential, Sutherland delivers a wonderful portrait of a true slice of Americana that should have readers reaching for their recipe files and saying, "I can do that." (Oct.)

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