How to win a recipe contest

Have you dreamed of entering -- and winning -- a recipe contest? Here are six tips for success from Canadian Living's food director and the 2011 grand prize winner from Food Network Canada's "Recipes to Riches" TV show.

By Kat Tancock

Win your dream recipe contest with these expert tips
Maybe everyone raves about your chili. Or not a Thanksgiving goes by without family members begging for a taste of your pumpkin pie with the perfect crust. You might be a great cook or baker, but do you have what it takes to win a cooking or recipe contest? Here are six secrets from the experts on what it takes for a recipe to stand out -- and win.

1. Keep it simple

"Don't get too fancy or complicated," says Annabelle Waugh, Canadian Living's food director. "Most of the time, the winners of these contests end up submitting something quite simple that, ultimately, is just really delicious and a unique idea."

Glo McNeill of Lunenburg, N.S., concurs. Her Luscious Lemon Pudding won in the Sweet Puddings and Pies category on Food Network Canada's "Recipe to Riches" TV show. "There are only five ingredients," she says of her winning dessert recipe. "It's extremely simple."

2. Follow the rules
All contests have rules -- and not only do the contestants have to abide by them, but the judges do, too. "We've had great recipes we couldn't use because the contestant broke a rule," warns Waugh.

3. Do your research
Before committing to entering a certain recipe, find out as best you can what the judges are looking for. For instance, when McNeill planned out her entry for "Recipe to Riches," she knew the idea was to turn the winning recipe into a President's Choice product -- so she chose her lemon pudding cake recipe accordingly. "When I knew Loblaws was looking for a product they wanted to market, it was common sense to make sure they didn't have anything like it in their freezers," she says. "Don't just do something that you think will work. Check it out and look at it from their point of view."

Page 1 of 2 -- Does your tried-and-tested recipe have what it takes to grab the judges' attention? Learn how to make your recipe entry stand out on page 2


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