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Think your pecan pie or chocolate cake is good enough to win a blue ribbon at the State Fair of Texas? It’s easier than you think. Here’s how.


If you’re convinced that your lemon ice box cake, chocolate brownies, coconut creme pie or jambalaya is among the best in Texas, here’s your chance to prove it. And it’s not as high a hurdle as you may think.

I’ve judged many cooking contests at the annual State Fair of Texas and chosen those the blue ribbons.  Only a handful have been delicious. Fewer are restaurant quality or even worth the calories to eat a full serving. The key to the ribbons? Other than a solid recipe, you have to employ top quality ingredients. That means Belgian chocolate rather than Kroger brand chocolate chips. Lemons instead of packaged lemon juice. Heavy cream instead of Cool Whip. Most competitors don’t, and we judges can tell the difference. It really is that simple. If you want the ribbon, spend a little money on your ingredients.

Ready to give it a shot?

Download the 2022 Cooking Contest handbook. Register (or just show up).

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