The Main Event-Hey! It Starts Tomorrow

By Keith Fisher

The pots are seasoned, lists are made, and last-minute prep is in order. Our Friend Terry Lewis is cooking with Chef Bryan Woolley today at noon, on KUTV 2 in Salt Lake City. He’ll also be on the morning show, same channel, tomorrow morning.

The cook off holds great promise for many people every year. With each victory and defeat, there are many stories that go untold. I remember one year. We were still cooking in the pavilion, and a Japanese film crew came to town. They were there to film the cook off, and they highlighted a few teams. They went to their homes and filmed their families. They ate with them, and filmed them doing family things.

When the smoke cleared on that Saturday afternoon, the highlighted teams hadn’t won. Such, is the nature of the cook off, you never know who will win. Judging is subjective but it is blind. Every judge tries to make fair and impartial decisions. I’ll talk more about judging later, and perhaps interview one of the judges from this year, but today I want to talk about one of those stories.

In 2008, Omar Alvarez teamed up with Dian Mayfield and became champions. They came back to defend their title, but Terry and Tori Lewis won instead. Sometimes everything comes together and sometimes it doesn’t. We took 11th place in 1999. I’m sure it would’ve been last, but one team didn’t like how the cake was turning out so they started over. They were docked points.

So, fast forward to this year, Omar and Dian are back to retake the title. Omar will be cooking with Alan Johnson and Dian, with her husband, Butch. They go into the semi-finals on different days, but if they make it into the finals, they will be cooking against each other. This year promises to be a real horse race.

If they qualify Omar and Dian will compete against each other, trying to unseat the Lewis’ while some of the perennial competitors could move in like a wild card and take the whole thing. Some of the perennial teams, Like Bill and Toni Thayn, have been coming back every year for a while. They are great competition and good people. Everyone deserves to win.

To quote Ruth Kendrick when she won in 1998, “Sometimes the bear chases you, and sometimes you chase the bear. Today, we chased the bear. Doug Miller, a TV personality, and Dutch oven cook, Smiled and said, “Today you kicked the bear.”

There are many more perennials in the group, Such as Wil & Jen Ward, Michael & Debbie Hair, Brian & Lisa Blodgett, Ted & Connie Cromer, Bev Shepherd & Pamela Lane. I don’t have the space to mention everyone. All of them will be doing their best to collect the prize, and bragging rights. You see the quality of the cooking will be great, everyone deserves to win, and you never know who it will be.

The real point here, in case you missed it, everyone has a story that should be covered by the media. I know some of the teams better than others, but I’ll be rooting for all of them. I want Terry and Tori to win because it will make history. I want Omar and Dian to get into the finals for the same reason. If either of them beat the Lewis’, it will put one of them along side Terry, to have won twice at worlds. At the same time, I want the thayns or the Wards to win because it’s their turn. Everyone has a story and they deserve to shine.

Good luck to all of you, and have fun.

On a personal note:

Remember the cook off I mentioned above, when the Japanese film crew came? That was the year my wife was walking along side a handcart, when it hit a hole. A hot water container slipped and the water scalded her feet. With third degree burns, Wendy could’ve given up and gone home, but she stayed, and prepared her wonderful pie. She did all her duties, and spent a lot of time with a bag of ice. Then there was the time when a table leg folded up, dumping The Hill’s cake on the floor. The leg wasn’t secure and a tragedy occurred. As it turned out, they planned on a multi-layer cake so the presented one less layer.

Although these two stories were worthy of a feature there was no footage taken. I’ve seen many people compete through hardships that most people never knew about. I raise my glass to those who keep trying.

Cooking begins at Noon, Thursday and Friday, and ten a.m. on Saturday. Go and hobnob with the cooks. As Doug Miller use to say, “Each one of these cooks is the best there is.”


C.L. Beck, author- MormonMishaps said...

It's be fun! You didn't say in this post (or if you did, I missed it), but I assume you're competing. Good luck, hope you win!

Keith Fisher said...

No I didn't compete. Well, it was pretty hard competing with all the noise when I used my voice recorder to do an interview.