Do you make the BEST pickles? The most AMAZING beer? Have you mastered the art of charcuterie or discovered that your purpose in life is to be a cheese maker? Does the thrill of having Ruth Reichl taste your strawberry jam just barely outweigh the terror of having Ruth Reichl taste your strawberry jam?
Then you should (quickly) check out the Good Food Awards!
The Good Food Awards is kind of like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval meets State Fair Blue Ribbon Competition meets Slow Food Nation. The organizers feel that responsible food production and superior taste should be equally rewarded and seek to honor 'people who make food that is delicious, respectful of the environment, and connected to communities and cultural traditions.'
The concept is to have (food) celebrities and experts taste and judge offerings from small producers in seven different categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles and preserves. People like Alice Waters, Paul Bertolli, John Scharffenberger, Alice Medrich, Michael Recchiuti, and Nell Newman will be involved. The winners will be announced on January 15, 2011 which will kickoff Good Food Month (Jan 16 - Feb 20, 2011).
The event is located in San Francisco but people from all over are invited to submit. The USA is divided up into five regions with awards granted to producers in each region. There are regulations specific to each category to assure that the food meets the mission of the event. While this may sound daunting to home cooks, Director Sarah Weiner, as quoted here from chow.com, encourages small producers to enter:
Although there aren't any size restrictions on the producers that can enter (meaning Kraft could technically enter if it had a product that met the criteria for its category), the Good Food Awards were created with smaller producers in mind. In fact, Weiner says, there's nothing in the application that says you even have to be a commercially viable business: Except for the charcuterie category, which requires that you work out of a state- or county-inspected facility, there is no stipulation that you have a business license, proof of insurance, or a setup in a commercial kitchen. Good news for hobbyists who haven't yet bitten the bullet and gone commercial.
"Conceptually I don't have any problem with someone like that winning," says Weiner. "It could be helpful to people like that, because we're trying to support people who want to grow their business, and we could help connect those folks."
Now! The contest closes on September 15th. You must be able to attend the awards ceremony in San Francisco on January 14th, 2011 and have enough product to sell the following day at a special marketplace for award winners.
This is a national event. While the ceremonial focus is in the Bay Area this year, the organizers are hoping that other cities will join in the fun in the years to come.
Awardees will receive the Good Food awards 2011 seal for their product, national coverage and the opportunity to select three people in their production chain to receive a Good Food Award Community seal. Plus, the whole thing sounds like a lot of fun and may be just what you need to move that Best Jam Ever off your kitchen counter and out into the world.
Visit Good Food Awards for details and then get into the kitchen! There's some good food to be made!
Related: A Brief Post from Slow Food Nation