If you’re ever in San Francisco and you love cooking you have to check out Omnivore Books in Noe Valley. Onmivore Books is an entire store full of cookbooks – they carry every cookbook you could imagine, even vintage ones from the 1900s. Last weekend they hosted a fruit pie contest at their store. The rules were pretty simple – everyone makes the some kind of pie, crumble, buckle, cobbler, crisp, tart etc. You cut it into as many pieces as you can so the most people can sample it. Non-pie-bringers pay $5 to taste as many pies as they want. At the end everyone picks a favorite, and the one with the most votes splits the door money with the owners.
I have never entered in any kind of food competition before but I love making pie so I thought I’d give it a shot. I used 101 Cookbook’s recipe for A Nice Berry Pie – it’s a rye crust pie and you can use any berries you have on hand. I’ve made this recipe several times now and it always turns out great. My only edit was to double the crust recipe since the original yields a fairly thin crust. I used strawberries and blueberries for the filling.
By the time I got to Omnivore it was swarming with people. The shop is only about 20’x20’ and there were probably close to 80 people either inside or spilling out on the sidewalk. When I got inside the shop the owner said they had just run out of pie so she quickly ushered me inside, gave me a number and told me to start cutting it into pieces. Then the craziness started – within seconds I was surrounded on all sides by people who wanted a piece.
My hands were flying trying to get pie into all the plates in front of me. My sister was with me and took some photos of the pie being demolished. It was gone in minutes! It was fun to hear the reviews and comments as I was serving. Most of the tasters seemed to be big berry fans but the rye crust was their favorite part. I think serving a still-warm pie got me some extra love too.
I didn’t end up winning but one of the staff members told me I was pretty close! I would definitely recommend entering in a food contest if you like to cook. Its a lot of fun to meet the other cooks and hear all the comments from the tasters. I am going to keep my eye out for any other food contest events in SF this summer, I think this could be a new summer tradition!
What about you? Have you ever entered in a food contest? Do you have any contests you’re planning to enter in this summer? Here are some links to my favorite recipes if you need some inspiration:
Pecan Pie (hint – for this recipe I’ve replaced the corn syrup 1:1 for maple syrup and it worked great)