It is returning once again to the North Market Fiery Food Festival in Columbus, Ohio. Taking place during President’s Day Weekend February 15-16, 2014, this year’s challenge is once again a vendor only challenge open to anyone selling at the North Market whether it be as a festival vendor or an artisan at the marketplace downstairs. No amateurs are allowed to enter, but anyone can be a judge! The challenge kicks off Saturday Feb 15th at 8am, and all entrants need to submit 16 or more ounces of their creations before 7:50pm to qualify. All entries must be turned in at the back of the bar area upstairs where the headquarters of the festival will be held.
Who can turn some chicken into something extraordinary?
Chicken Salad is pretty much a leftover meal that we often overlook. If you go into some gourmet delis you can find some top notch chicken salads that will completely wow you. I have made some slight spicy variations over the years, and have not reached Nirvana yet. So I am going to sponsor the Spicy Chicken Salad Challenge again in hopes to find the ultimate spicy chicken salad recipe. These culinary wizards do not get to compete too often against each other, so I wanted to promote something just for them and to stir their creative juices. There will be a nice trophy to the winner which will be announced Sunday morning at the start of the 2nd day of the festival.
How to enter the challenge?
Please alert me here or via email your intent, so I have enough serving supplies for everyone. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please state 1 or 2 chicken salad entries and the name of your company. You will be responsible in getting the chicken salad to me in a timely manner. Failure to do so will forfeit your entry from being judged. We only have 1 hour to judge the entries and once the judging start the door must be closed. Hence the 10 minute window to record and prep the entry for judging.
What do I expect from a spicy chicken salad?
Well, creativity for one, followed by a visually pleasing dish, with a deliciousness and spiciness that do a tango(chicken dance) in your mouth. Pasta and veggy salads with chicken are completely acceptable as long as the chicken is a big part of the dish beyond the pasta and veggies. You can go traditional American style or you can take it International or go off the beaten path. I will tell you that I hate olives, cauliflower and detest pomegranates, and I will be one of the judges. Keep that in mind before you hit the test lab. Of course, I will not be the only judge. A maximum of 2 chicken salad entries will be accepted. To keep freshness from being an issue, the judging will take place early on Saturday. Hopefully this will inspire some great recipes from our very talented spicy product makers.
Who can judge?
You just have to be there at 8am to get yourself involved. You will be given a scoring sheet that will consist of 4 categories- taste (1-10 pts), visually pleasing (1-5 pts), texture(1-5 pts), and
Nasally Pleasing (+1/-1 pts). Visually pleasing does not mean to deliver the dish gourmet style, it is the actual look of the chicken salad that will be judged and not the presentation. Nasally pleasing is just a 1 point swing depending if the odor is foul or pleasing to your sense of smell. A non-pleasing scent loses a point and a good one gets a point while neutral smells receive no points. Once one of the chicken salads runs out, the judging will cease and the scores will then be tabulated. If a chicken salad portion is not enough at the start they will lose judging points, and the challenge will continue without their additional scores.
What about the rest of the Fiery Food Festival Weekend?
There are a lot of new things in store for you at the North Market show this year including 3 new contests we will be co-sponsoring with 3 of our friends – Ed Currie of Puckerbutt Pepper Company will be introducing the Ballpark Challenge, Tim Bader of Volcanic Peppers will be testing the Fiery Pizza Challenge in the Columbus, Ohio market and Patter Fam Sauces and I will be bringing back the new and improved PB & J Sammich Stackdown. Plus you have the Peppered Pulled Pork Challenge from Joel Mowrey of Smoking J’s and returning even hotter and messier than ever is Chad Lowcock & Race City Sauce Works’ Schweaty Balls Challenge. Something you will not want to miss! There is the annual chili contests, both amateur and restaurant competitions, plus the amateur guacamole, salsa and hot sauce contests that many of the bloggers will get a chance to judge in, including yours truly.
At the end of the festival the traditional wing challenge presented by CaJohn’s Flavor & Fire is always a crowd-pleaser as the one and only Steve “The Machine” Smallwood will be back to defend his title.
Downstairs in the marketplace there will be spicy cuisine served up from most of the artisan food markets, and that will be something else to think about considering all the great ethnic food choices. Plus entertainment for the kids including face painting. There will be caricatures for all ages, a photo booth and a juggling performance both days. Plus live music. It is a family fun time for all ages.
If you have interest in coming to the 4th Annual Fiery Asian Dinner Saturday night after the show, then visit this page and add your name: Fiery Asian Dinner.
59 Spruce St.
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone (614) 463-9664
Facebook Festival Page: CLICK ME
Show Date: February 15-16, 2014
There will also be an open house at CaJohn’s Fiery Foods on the Friday before the event.