Recently, yours truly was selected to be one of several guest bloggers invited to help cover the Dole California Cook-Off later this month in Los Angeles.
As a food blogger, requests for product reviews, kind offers of free meals and event invites of varying quality inevitably spill my direction. Most of the time however, I decline. Being that this silly website of mine is more ‘labor of love’ at this point, accepting such sponsored solicitations has never been my prerogative.
Despite Dole Foods not exactly being a mom-and-pop outfit (I lean less corporate, it’s true), I accepted this particular invitation because of its generous scope. Plainly, it promises to be a fun, diverting experience. Besides being graciously accommodated by Dole Foods, I will also have an opportunity to meet scores of talented, interesting and like-minded people along the way–fellow bloggers, chefs, home cooks, you name it.
The premise of Dole’s California Cook-Off is simple. Everyday home cooks submitted their tried-and-true recipes utilizing particular Dole products, and the chosen finalists will then be shuttled to Los Angeles for a competitive, live cook-off event at the Epicurean School of Culinary Arts. The ultimate winners will be ranked by a panel of local food industry notables, including chef Ben Ford (as in actor Harrison Ford’s offspring) of Ford’s Filing Station. The ultimate winner takes home, among other things, a $1,000 cash prize, and the printing of their recipe on selected Dole canned food labels.
Myself and the other selected bloggers come into play in the form of kitchen assistance. Each of us are being coupled with a recipe finalist, acting as de facto sous-chef, helping to prepare their submitted dishes for said judging. We will also be reporting about the event via our respective blogs.
Ironically, among the diverse list of guest bloggers chosen nationwide, I was pleasantly surprised to discover Erin Forney, the personality behind Food Tramp Diaries, will joining me as well. Always nice to share such an experience with a familiar face.