The Main Event-Two Days Gone

By Keith Fisher

The results for Friday are posted on the IDOS website but the teams who will be competing for the all the marbles on Saturday, are listed below.

Brian and Lisa Blodgett
Kim and Les Ferguson
Dale and Dana Jensen
Pamela Lane and Bev Shepherd
Butch and Diane Mayfield.

Good luck guys.

I’m sitting in the hospitality suite. It’s Saturday morning, and sleepiness gives way to anticipation. Eleven teams are making preparations, curbing their nerves, and renewing acquaintances.

All too well, I remember the feelings. When you dance in the big dance, it’s easy to get caught up in the carnival nature of the event. People stop by your cooking area and ask questions. You worry if your recipe will come out okay, and you wonder if it’s good enough.

All these things are distractions. Dana Jensen, from team 15, told me her distractions made her forget certain ingredients. She had to go back and add the things she left out. The confusion can cause even greater mistakes too. One team, a few years ago, decided they needed just ten more minutes to finish off their bread. At that moment, a film crew came by and interviewed them. The bread was forgotten, it burned on the bottom and they blame the incident for not winning that year.

Some times the anxious nerves can cause you to make really tragic mistakes. Usually, everyone times everything, but the nerves sometimes drive you change the schedule. Such is the case of the cooks who started cooking their stuffed pork chops too soon, forgetting they still had five hours to cook them. The meat was overcooked, and made them regret not keeping to the schedule.

As I inferred, in previous blogs, there are a million stories. Each team has a story that is never told. Many teams have stories they laugh about in the years that follow. I sat around a table yesterday with fellow former champions. We swapped stories and laughed about the tragedies were incurred on the road to championship. It was fun to relive the good times.

I promised to post an interview with a field judge this morning, but I’m going wait on that, and do a collection of thoughts from a variety of judges. Hopefully, I can persuade them to talk to me. Well, it looks like the cooks meeting is about to start. Let’s talk a little about that.

When all the cooks and crew gather, Ranes brings the meeting to order. Today, we talk about the rule that nobody can assist the cooks with suggestions. “I don’t care if you are the greatest expert there is, You cannot teach a better way to flute a mushroom,” Ranes said.

Apparently, there have been problems in the past when somebody made suggestions to one or the other of the teams and the rest of the cooks felt it caused unfair advantage. Also, there were announcements: The IDOS convention scheduled for April 10th, The Camp Chef Dutch oven gathering June 5. The Damon Faust memorial fund.

Eleven helpers who’s charge it is to bring hot water and hot coals for the cooks, stood and were chosen by the teams. Field judges are Brian Terry, and Bruce Tracy, both of them are World champions 1999 and 2004 respectively.

Ranes talks about punctuality. Dishes must be presented on time. If they are presented on time, the teams get 20 points. 0-5 minutes late loses ten points. 10 minutes or later, 0 points. In a cook off with close point spread like this, losing one point could make the difference between first and second place.

We are trying a new thing this year. In the interest of service to the spectators, there will be a Dutch oven cooking class after the dishes are presented. Then after the cook off, the students can get some hands on experience and brush shoulders with the teams and former world champions. Ranes asks for volunteers to help out.

Each competitor gets a logo embossed apron with their name embroidered on them. In the interest in cleanliness, take your apron off before walking to the bathroom.

After a few brief discussions, the meeting ends. Good luck to the cooks. You see, there isn’t a lot of mystery about what happens in the hospitality suite. Well, it’s time to get out and watch the main event. More later.

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