Culinary Cook-off

2023 Culinary Cook-Off Competition! 

The Culinary Cook-off is a cooking competition that takes place during the ORA Expo. Oklahoma's most talented chefs will race the clock to create dazzling dishes using a mystery basket of ingredients. Chefs will compete in various heats until the contest is narrowed down to the last two chefs. Judges will consist of a panel of industry professionals who will critique each competitor on plate presentation, creativity, product taste, and sanitation practices, among other things. For each contestant, the high and low scores will be discarded. Chefs will be competing for a trophy, medals, and cash prizes.


Heat 1: 10:30 a.m.
Heat 2: 12:00 p.m.                                                                    

Championship Round:
Starts at 1:30 p.m.

  • Participants must be employed by and on the current payroll of an ORA member restaurant in good standing as of June 1, 2023.
  • Participants must be able to verify employment status at any time before and during competition.
  • Only one (1) chef per physical property may compete in the event.
Competition Format
  • Competition is open chefs working in an ORA member restaurant or foodservice establishment who submit their bio and registration through the online form.
  • If selected, applicants will be notified of their acceptance around August 1.
  • Contestants will compete in heats against other chefs.
  • A pantry with basic staples such as bases, dairy, starches, dry ingredients, and mirepoix will be provided. The following spices will be provided:
    • Coarse grind black pepper
    • Paprika
    • Granulated garlic
    • Granulated onion
    • Cumin
    • Chili powder
    • Cinnamon
    • White pepper
    • Ginger 
    • Salt
  • Each contestant will receive a mystery basket that includes a protein and a few other ingredients.
  • The contestant has 30 minutes (Preliminary Heats) and 60 minutes (Championship Finals) to create a dish and MUST use each of the ingredients in the basket. In the Finals, contestants only need to use protein in one of the dishes (appetizer or entree).
  • Chefs will be required to prepare three (3) identical plates for the judging table.
  • Chefs will be given a 5-minute warning before the end of each heat.
  • A culinary assistant (culinary student) will be provided.
  • Judges will be comprised of industry professionals. For each contestant, the high and low scores will be discarded.
  • Participants will be judged on plate presentation, creativity, product taste, technique, and sanitation practices.
  • Winners of each heat will advance to the next round.
  • Based on total points, the Champion and Runner-Up will be announced after the Championship Finals. In the event of a tie, scores will be tallied in order of Product Taste, then Use of Mystery Basket Items, then Difficulty to determine the winner.
Competition Rules
  • Applicants must provide bio. This can include educational/training background, professional affiliations/memberships, awards/honors, and professional certifications. Applicants failing to provide both completed forms and bio will be deemed ineligible.
  • Participants must be able to compete on both days if needed.
  • All travel expenses are assumed by the competitor.
  • Participants must check-in 30 minutes prior to their heat or their space will be forfeited.
  • Participants must bring their own knives. Participants may also bring with them any other tools such as molds, pastry bags, etc. Due to time and power constraints, we do not allow participants to bring any corded electric tools.
  • Participants may bring up to two (2) other ingredients with them such as a special oil, vinegar, or spice. Items cannot be a protein.
  • The protein in the mystery basket must be the focal point of your dish.
  • Participants must use each of the items in the mystery basket in their meal presentation.
  • Participants will be judged on how well they used the items supplied in the mystery basket.
  • Proper safety and sanitation practices will be judged during the contest.
  • Judges’ decisions are final.
  • Participants may request to see their scores/notes.
  • Have fun and enjoy the event!
Have fun and enjoy the event!