It’s early evening on Sunday and the whole staff, including me, are collectively considering a career change. We are beyond tired. Soon we’ll find out if all the hard work and foul language was worth the effort. Let me explain.
Preparing food for an unknown amount of people has a few challenges, especially if it is for a food competition. So when I say we need to have 320 pounds of chicken wings, 400 pounds of smoked pork, and a couple hundred cheesecake popsicles everyone on my staff thinks I’m crazy. Maybe so, but once again, the unknown customer count and the fact that who knows what people will and won’t like at an event like this has me upping my estimates. So after countless hours in front of our smoker and our staff baker swearing off cheesecake for life we had a basic battle plan.
Now everyone needs to understand that making the meat or main part of a menu is usually rather easy. It’s all the other small things that can make you nuts. You need BBQ sauces, wing sauces, napkins, plates, hotboxes, gloves, permits, well, you get the idea. The list seems to go on forever till you finally get to that point where you think you have it all. But you don’t. You will have to drive from home base to the festival site more than a couple of times to get it just right. It does happen eventually and after a health inspection and a deep breath you are open for business!
At this point it’s too late for changes to the plan. Hopefully you have enough food and energy since it’s a pretty fast paced environment. In these situations a long line means you’re probably doing something they like. So you push forward knowing at the end of this long road there is a goal. We want to win it. Again. If we can accomplish this it would set us apart from our competition for at least another year. So after two days and a few bruises and burns we arrive at the beginning of this story.
We have a good feeling that we would, at the very least finish in the top 3. So when third place was not us we knew we had a shot. Second place restaurant also was not our name. Nervous! Then it happened. They called our name as this year’s Best in Show. Oh yeah! That’s two years in a row, two for two for our current staff, and one step closer to a three-peat. Food competitions in Wisconsin Dells are definitely an experience.