On your mark, get set, COOK
Cooking contests at Yuma Lettuce Days
Got a sharp knife and a smokin' family recipe? Yuma Lettuce Days will give you the chance to see how your creation stacks up against the best in the West – or at least the best in Yuma.
Five different cooking contests will be held over the two-day festival, as follows:
Saturday 9:30-10 a.m.
Make a Date with Bob & Sheri
Three big reasons to get cooking with luscious and healthy Medjool dates: Number 1, win cash money donated by Datepac (1st place $250, 2nd place $150, 3rd place $100); Number 2, meet radio personalities Bob & Sheri, who'll help judge the entries; Number 3, dates are delicious, fat-free and high in fiber, who needs another reason? We're looking for the most creative and tasty date recipe here, any category from appetizers to desserts, the sunny Yuma sky's the limit.
Saturday noon-1 p.m.
“Make Me Eat It” Cooking for Kids Challenge
Do you struggle to create healthy meals that kids will actually eat? Bring us your best and tell us what you are doing to fuel your family with healthy food. But be ready: the judges for this contest are the toughest critics – real live kids! This contest is sponsored by POWer Fresh Kids, the company behind the popular POWer PLAY'tes used in Yuma's elementary school cafeterias. Win cash (1st place $250, 2nd place $150, 3rd place $100), plus 365 POWer PLAY'tes for the first-place winner - one for every day of the year to encourage his/her kids to eat healthy.
Saturday 3-4 p.m.
Healthy Eating the RV Way
Eating healthy when you're on the move can be a challenge … so hit the road around your park and round up the best recipe for a creative and tasty salad using just five ingredients. Besides bragging rights among Yuma RV parks, the winners in this challenge sponsored by Fry's score Fry's gift cards (1st place $250, 2nd place $150, Sunday noon -1p.m.
Color Your Plate
It's a proven medical fact that if your plate is full of deep and bright colors, you're on the right path to a healthy diet. The challenge in this contest sponsored by Yuma Regional Medical Center has four elements: make it colorful, make it healthy, make it tasty, and make it with Yuma-grown fruits and vegetables. Cash prizes for this one too: 1st place $250, 2nd place $150, 3rd place $100. Spin your color wheel and get cooking.
Sunday 2-3 p.m.
Heat it Up with Chef Ben Ford
This contest for the sassiest salsa in Yuma offers contestants a chance to get something cookin' with our Lettuce Days headliner, Chef Ben Ford of Ford's Filling Station in Culver City, Calif. During his final live cooking demonstration, Chef Ford will help judge whose homemade salsa best complements the recipe he's preparing especially for Lettuce Days. Our top five entrants will receive a handmade salsa bowl from Colorado River Pottery, plus Chef Ford will autograph the winner's bowl on site. No cash awarded on this one – but seriously, isn't the chance to meet our handsome chef (son of actor Harrison Ford) prize enough? It (he) es muy caliente!
There's no charge to enter any of the contests, and entry forms are available at Yuma Visitors Bureau administrative offices (202 S. First Ave.), at the Visitor Information Center at the Quartermaster Depot (201 N. 4th Ave.) or online at www.yumalettucedays.com. Registrations are due by close of business March 7. Detailed rules are available on the Lettuce Days website.
Recipes must be prepared in advance in a quantity sufficient for five judges to each get a good taste. Cooks will have 10 minutes on site in the outdoor kitchen area sponsored by The Foothills Bank to do final preparation and garnishing, and a microwave will be available for use. If other cooking equipment is needed for the final presentation – for example, a torch to carmelize sugar on a crème brule or a blender to puree vegetables – the cook must supply it.
Shannan Gonzalez, Yuma Lettuce Days cooking contest coordinator, said the ideas and rules for the cooking contests were developed for Yuma cooks and with inspiration from our fields.