Love Cajun cookin’? Last year the Lord used a Cajun Cookoff in our congregation’s fund-raising efforts for missions. It’s a fun way to bring together delicious dishes and an opportunity to get together with church and community family and friends.
I lived in Louisiana for a few years and love Cajun food–for me helping plan a Cajun Cookoff was a lot of fun. In our church there are also several great cooks and lovers of Cajun food. In the past we had done a church crawfish boil with great success, but we did not make much money. The goal this time around was to have great food and raise funds for missions.
Twenty-five cooks were asked to participate and given the choice of three to four categories of food to prepare: side dish, main dish, soups, and deserts. We tried to make sure we had a few cooks signed up for each category. Cooks were also allowed to sign-up for more than one group.
The side dishes were vegetables, dirty rice and such. The main dishes were all kinds of meat pies, jambalya, and main dish items. In the soup division, we had gumbo and bisque. The desert category was amazing with white chocolate bread pudding taking the prize.
One thing we told everyone attending was that not everything should be spicy, and indeed we had many other dishes, but all were excellent. Cooks were asked to provide enough to serve a teaspoon portion to about 60 people. The small portions were served in small disposable cups, much like a grocery store uses for product samples.
Not everyone tried everything, but we had about 75 to 100 people and we wanted to make sure we had plenty to sample. As each participant entered our tasting, they were given a score sheet to rank each dish from 1 to 10. The dishes were identified by numbers, so you just scored the numbers instead of description of food. They walked around the area tasting what they wanted. Then at the end we totaled up the tally sheets and announced winners. We wanted our cooks to know there was nothing scientific about the judging. If there was a tie, a coin was flipped to see who the winner was for each category. We had aprons monogramed with Cajun Cook-off for each category winner.
The cost of the ticket for entry into the event was $5, but in hindsight, $10 could have charged because everyone left full! It was a fun event with great participation from both the cooks and attendees.