Grillin' On The Bay Rules Debate
This post didn't start out to be about contest rules, but it has evolved into one. It was supposed to be about putting Griilin' On The Bay together, but sometimes you just have to follow the flow. So rather than a long rambling post about putting the event together and incorporating some of the discussion about interpreting rules, here's a post concentrating on the cook's reactions and discussions about the rules of Grilin' On The Bay and grilling contests in general.
Grillin' On The Bay and The Brooklyn Chili Smackdown is officially announced to the public. Grillin' On the Bay and The Brooklyn Chili Smackdown is out there in the wild. It's on the web, it's on a few news sites, a bunch of foodie sites, The NEBS calendar and as a friend over at Sheepshead Bites says, "In our world, things are only official when banners go public." Well, the banners are flying. I guess it's too late to turn back now.
As anyone who's ever thrown a party knows, there's that moment after the invitations are sent when you wonder if anyone is going to show. There's a deafening silence that could drive one nuts!
Then, when you least expect it, the phone calls start. People do want to come. There are always some congratulatory phone calls, but being the pessimist I seem to have become, these fade quickly from my brain and the questions from the cooks start. "Why'd you pick this date?" "This location?" "These categories?" "On rule 14 - do you mean?" "If I submit X, will it be legal?" "Why did you rule out X but not Y"?"
The only question I'll answer here, since it's not the official site for Grillin' On The Bay or The Brooklyn Chili Smackdown is I ruled out X and not Y because it's my contest and I don't like X. You know who I'm talking to.
It amazes me how the cooks interpret the rules and are always looking for the loopholes. It's always a small handful but it's usually the same cooks who are always looking for that competitive edge. It may be my Catholic school upbringing, but I was raised to accept a set of rules and find ways to work and succeed within them. There are conversations about the "letter of the rule" and the "intent of the rule" to the extent that you'd think we're arguing life and death here. It's only a cooking contest. It's supposed to be fun.
These guys - wow. Not that there's anything wrong with looking for any legal advantage, but these guys could argue forever. They would have made some great lawyers. I know I'd hire them. I certainly respect their determination.
A few years ago, long before Grillin' On The Bay and The Brooklyn Chili Smackdown existed, there was a contest where it was debated if using Worcestershire sauce on a fish entry was in violation of the "one type of fish only" rule at that event since Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies. I don't want to open a can of old worms, but to me this is common sense. Worcestershire sauce should be legal. No one I know would swallow a spoonful of Worcestershire sauce and exclaim, "Now that's some good anchovies!" Sauce is sauce and fish is fish.
Here's the rule of fish for Grillin' On The Bay 2010..
Fish: Whole, steak or fillet. No shellfish, mollusk or crustaceans. Fish may be cooked whole, but must be submitted in 6 separate and identifiable pieces. Teams have the option to use stuffing. The fish entry can not be stuffed with additional fish, shellfish, crustacean or mollusk. See stuffing definitions below.
GARNISH - Only green leaf lettuce, Italian or flat leaf parsley and curly parsley. Entry may not be wrapped with another item, (i.e. meat or pastry dough). Sauces, if used, shall be on the entry. No sauce containers are allowed. Chunks in any sauce must be finely diced. For NEBS purposes, ‘finely diced’ is defined as less than 1/8 inch in size. Additional edible products, of any kind, in the sauce are OK as long as these products are finely diced.
Inedible objects are NOT allowed in the entry box.
Pretty clear huh? I think so, but what do I know? I wrote them. Some folks think this is clear as mud. Even now when I look at the rule, new opportunities present themselves for the cooks. I don't want to give anyone any ideas, but boy this rule is a lot more "open" than I ever realized.
But the questions are good things. If there were no questions, that would mean there's no interest. So let the questions fly! I hope to see you there.