Monday, November 12, 2012

2012 Brighton Show

On Saturday I had the opportunity to help out at the 2012 Brighton Show in the Hall of Industries. Given that I am a little old CWA lady at heart, and I was entering some cakes and some jewellery in the Hall of Industries Home Produce and Craft section for judging, I was actually really looking forward to helping out and seeing how it all worked behind the scenes.

I arrived early in the morning and spent the first few hours collecting people's entries as they dropped them off and labelling them with their category and the entrants ID number. I just loved watching all the different entries come in and meeting the different people who made them. Some people entered nearly every category and came in with boxes full of cakes and jams and crafts....I thought I was pretty cool just entering 3 categories!

Anyway, just after lunch I was getting ready to go home when the lady judging the Produce category showed up. Not only was I anxious to see what she thought of my entries (which were de-identified with the use of an ID number) but I was really interested in seeing how the whole judging process worked, plus after talking to the judge I found out that she had completed a CWA Home Produce Judging Course and then I was totally hooked. To be very honest I thought that they literally sat down and sampled a piece of every cake and judged it on a combination of flavour and presentation, so imagine my surprise when the lady judging only tasted maybe 2 or 3 of the 30 odd cakes there! The only time cakes were actually tasted was when it was too close to call just by looking at them and even then it was only the tiniest slither little piece cut from the centre.

The judge knew that it was my first time entering a show and also my first time acting as a steward so I was really pleased that she took the time to explain all of the elements to me and show me what to look for. All of the cakes were cut in half and judged on a whole variety of factors I hadn't even really considered. Cakes that were cracked or had line marks from the drying rack were instantly discounted, cakes that were dry, undercooked or overcooked or that had frosting too thick, too thin or unevenly distributed, not a chance and if you entered a slice that had a crumbly get the picture. Even elements such as wrapping your entry in foil rather then submitting it on a plate or submitting a jar of jam that every single steward in the room put together couldn't open would count against you.

I also had this vision in my head that if you were the only person to enter a category you were pretty much guaranteed first place. Totally not true. There were categories with one entry in them and that entry received either 3rd place or no place at all and categories with 5 different entries and only one or two places awarded, it really did come down to wether the entry deserved a prize or not. I know it sounds like a big and scary competition with absolutely no chance of winning, but it wasn't and to be honest I am actually glad that they judge it that way - I mean it makes sense doesn't it, judging on a whole variety of factors, not just taste and first impressions and only awarding prizes when they are truly deserved.

And the most exciting part is that I won FIRST PLACE in the chocolate cake category, SECOND PLACE in the orange cake category and FIRST PLACE in the beaded earring category!

I had such a fun day and I learnt so much. It was great to win something in every category I entered and even more rewarding after I had learned the requirements by which they are judged! I can't wait for next year now!!

Mrs B xx

1 comment:

  1. Oh I love the home industries section at the shows! Well done!!



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