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288 pages, Paperback
Published June 25, 2019
Nolan lifted the window shade. “I was thinking, a huge team must be required to coordinate a cookoff as big as America’s Good Taste. Fifty cooks, each representing their state. Do you have any idea what goes into getting a cooking competition up and running? I imagine the process is as complicated as a space shuttle launch.”
Sherry tucked her phone back in her purse.
“Could be. Every time I’m in one, I pick the organizer’s brain, after the fact. I appreciate their efforts to make the competition a good experience for everyone involved. I don’t know how they get the job done. The task of narrowing the field of entrants down to the finalists takes a panel of experts months. For instance, for yesterday’s contest, I submitted my crab cake recipe online almost six months ago. After the contest received my entry, and hundreds maybe thousands more, a group of reviewers weeded out ones that had too many typos, weren’t organized well enough for an average home cook to be able to replicate, any duplicates, plain awful recipes, and on and on. At the same time, a venue for the contest had to be found, sponsors attracted, advertising created, travel arrangements made, not to mention all the stoves set up, ingredients purchased at the last minute, and aprons and gift baskets provided. The list grew every day until the event day arrived. There always has to be some emergency contingencies in place like what to do if there’s a last minute contestant cancellation, while addressing the obvious, like planning first aid for burns and cuts, etcetera. I’m forever fascinated talking to the officials after a cook-off when they finally can exhale. They let their hair down and spill the beans on everything that went on to get the event to appear smooth as coconut cream. All I know is how to be a contestant. I wouldn’t want the coordinator’s job. Behind the scenes, I imagine they deal with unforeseen disaster after unforeseen disaster. At the end of the day, I’m always so impressed that no catastrophe occurred.” Sherry lowered her voice to a near whisper. “Except for the occasional murder.”
Nolan’s eyebrows merged and he blinked hard.
“I don’t think I heard you right. Did you say murder?”
“That was the mishap I was referring to. Twice there’s been a murder associated with a cook-off I’ve been a part of. You probably read about the incidents if you’ve been anywhere near Augustin over the last year or so. There was nonstop coverage by all the news outlets.”
He leaned forward and planted his elbows on each of his armrests. “Come to think of it, that was my first introduction to cook-offs. I didn’t know a thing about them until I read the news articles. I’ve certainly never attended one, so when I found myself with some extra time in Orlando, I bought a ticket to see what goes on. I really had a good time and there was no murder. That’s a plus.”
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This review was originally posted on Baroness' Book Trove