How to Judge a Food Contest With Forms

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Food contests are rarely judged on taste alone.

If you are coordinating any kind of judging for a baking contest or cook-off, it is essential that you and your judges are using a standardized judging rubric. Creating a form for judges to score each contestant's offering into a food contest will ensure a fair, accurate, and reputable judging process. When crafting a form that will be used to judge any sort of food competition, there are a number of obvious (and some not-so-obvious) categories that should be used.


Step 1

Assign each contestant a number when they register. In order to prevent judging bias, each contestant should deliver their entry along with a tag bearing this number. This will ensure that the judges are tasting each dish blind, with no knowledge of who made it.

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Step 2

Create a new Word document, type the title of your competition on it, as well as the year of the competition. Include the phrase "Official Judging Form", and a place to hand-write in the contestant's assigned number.


Step 3

Add at least four judging criteria on separate lines. Depending on what type of competition you are judging, you will want to score each entry on Appearance/Presentation, Flavor, Texture, and Relevance to the Theme of the competition. Each of these criteria should be followed by the numbers 1-5, and a space for judges to leave comments. The judge will then circle a number between 1-5 to score each category (make sure to indicate on the judging sheet that 5 is best and 1 is worst, to avoid any confusion.)


Step 4

Add up all of the scores in each category, and award top prize to the dish that scored the highest overall. If two dishes are tied for first place, break the tie by awarding the prize to the dish that had the highest degree of difficulty.


If the judges encounter raw or undercooked food, have them bring it to your attention prior to judging. Consuming raw or undercooked food items can cause food-borne illness and may pose greater risks to pregnant judges.


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