Yes, folks, tomorrow is the first day of the 2015 FreeFrom Food Awards judging and, because we like to start with a bang, tomorrow is Raw Foods and Superfoods* (by definition, no preparations because no cooking) followed by Store Cupboard*, this year including what feels like a thousand cake and bread mixes and at least 1500 sauces in which to marinade stuff!!
However, with two such expert bakers – not to mention one gleaming new oven – the cakes have been flying out and our cooks are now well into the marinading and the plans for the actual service tomorrow.
The Store Cupboard category is somewhat of a nightmare as so many of the entries are really hard to judge as such. You cannot, for example, judge a flour by eating a teaspoon of it or a marinade without marinating something in it. On the other hand you do not want what you do with the entry either to enhance it unfairly or to disadvantage it by not using it in the way it was intended. So we need to find a way to prepare the entries so that they are able to show off ‘their best sides’ while not allowing the other ingredients we use to achieve this either to overwhelm the product or give it an unfair advantage over other entries. Yeah, tricky….
The mixes that Katherine (with a K) is make up here and that Catherine (with a C) was decanting above are of course easier as we just follow the instructions – so God help an entrant if their instructions do not work as we stick rigidly to them. After all, that is what the customer is going to do, so it is really important not only that the mix works but that the instructions do too. And….. that instructions for a ‘dairy-free cake mix’ do not then tell you to add ‘milk’ or ‘butter’ as, I am afraid, all too often they do…..
Meanwhile, up in the office Cressida is ticking off her endless lists – hundreds of ambient products stacked on shelves upstairs and downstairs in the basement where we have colonised the garden room for the duration of the judging. With nearly 500 products all told, Cressida’s lists are a VITAL management tool without which chaos would reign…
Anyhow, all is now in place. So we only await the arrival of Gluten-free-beer-expert Sue so we can all traipse up to our local Pizza Express for the annual GF pizza and Green’s beer to get us all set up for kick off tomorrow.
Roll on judges – it is all waiting for you!