Sunday Cookoff

Jul 13, 2014 by

We have here in Ireland a pretty unique competition run via Twitter every Sunday. Entered by amateurs, judged by a busy professional for no prize or gain other than a nod and an acknowlegement from the said professional.  Mad eh?

Sunday Cookoff is where Twitter home cooks share a picture of their home cooked Sunday dinner, lunch or brunch. It’s fun, it’s interesting and it shows how people are cooking at home now in a modern Ireland. Actually I think I have seen entries from other countries as well. And then there were the entries from that Domestic Goddess. Yes, Nigella (she who is recognisable without even giving her her full name) entered her Sunday food, unstyled and photographed as presented to her family in her home.

The brainchild behind this competition is the inimitable Ciarán Behan @mrcbehan on Twitter. Some how he has managed to get a busy chef, Dean Coppard @UluruArmagh who runs a, by all accounts busy and successful restaurant kitchen called Uluru in Armagh, northern Ireland. Now from what I know of a busy service from first hand accounts from my chef son, I would imagine the last thing you would feel like doing after one is looking at a load of photographs from a load of amateurs of their Sunday cooking and judging them.

But every Sunday Dean does just that, sending out a tweet usually that he is just finishing off service and will start with the judging soon. He has been judging now for over two years and has followed stalwarts such as Conrad Gallagher, Gary O’Hanlon, Wade Murphy and Kate Lawlor.

I asked Ciarán Behan when it started. He replied when he came out of hospital in 2011. He got the brainwave and asked the first chef to judge. The competition will be three years old next month. For a competition that is purely organic and amateur with no physical prize or sponsorship this is surely some feat.

So check out the photos and the food. Photos are always accompanied with the hashtag #sundaycookoff. The standard of the cooking is variable as is the photography but what shines is the pride and the passion people have with what they have produced for their family to eat. And everything looks homemade in the way that is comforting when you are starving and wish you could just smell and taste it.

I find myself thinking on a Sunday will I take a photo and enter. Today I am and here is my entry. I find it makes me think about my presentation more than I would do usually and let’s face it; we eat with our eyes too.

Hake with green beans and fennel. Fried leftover new potatoes and a fennel butter.

For pud, a white chocolate, Coole Swan Liqueur and raspberry cheesecake with a cherry compote topping.

So get cooking and take a snap and join in the fun.  Add the hashtag #Sundaycookoff and mention @UluruArmagh on Twitter. And cheers to Ciarán and Dean the unsung heroes. And of course Nigella for being such a great sport.

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