The Contests Articles

A Challenge -- and a Response

October 16, 2009 • 23 Comments


Chris KimballFood52

- Amanda and Merrill

Yesterday on his blog, Chris Kimball (editor and founder of Cook's Illustrated) proposed a recipe challenge to "any supporter of the WIKI or similar concept," specifically mentioning Amanda and food52 as potential opponents. (This morning, the reference miraculously disappeared -- perhaps Chris got nervous we'd actually accept?)

  • "The current rage is the WIKI recipe notion — a community of on-line foodies who can select and tweak recipes to come up with the best possible version. Then there is the opposite contention — I think that only a professional test kitchen with substantial resources, strict testing protocol, and lots of time can develop the very “best” recipes, all things being equal. So, I am willing to put my money, and my reputation, where my big mouth is. I offer a challenge to any supporter of the WIKI or similar concept to jump in and go head to head with our test kitchen. We will jointly agree on a recipe, on the rules, on a time frame, etc. At the end, we will ask a panel of impartial judges to make and test the recipes and declare a winner. Should be fun! Who is interested?"

We're intrigued by the invitation, and we have some thoughts on the matter. So do some others on the internet.

What Chris sees as mutually exclusive approaches to recipe-sourcing we view as complementary ones that can peacefully co-exist. (And by the way, we're not a WIKI in a traditional sense.) That's one of the things that makes the internet so great. We didn't set out to compete with Cook's to come up with the most reliable panzanella. At food52, our mission is to inspire home cooks to share their best original recipes and most noteworthy cooking techniques with our online community -- we're more interested in a panzanella with panache. We hope that at food52, everyone (including us) learns a little something, sees the site as a resource for memorable, vetted recipes and and finds a community of like-minded cooks.

Cook's objective is admirable and always has been. (In fact, Merrill cut her own recipe testing teeth working in America's Test Kitchen years ago.) But while Chris's aim is to create "dependable" versions of familiar, tried-and-true recipes using scientific methods and relying on a team of professionals, ours is to celebrate the individuals behind great recipes. Cook's is about a foolproof test kitchen apple pie, while food52 is about going to the kitchens of great home cooks to taste the apple pie they've been making for 30 years -- or the one they modeled after a fantastic restaurant version they ate last week.

Since any food52 challenge includes you, our users, we would like to hear from you. Let us know: do you think we should take Chris on? If this challenge goes ahead, we promise to work with Chris to set some fair terms.


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Editor's Picks -- Week 16

October 8, 2009 • 0 Comments


Here are some of the entries that impressed us this week.


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Preview of Next Week's Themes + New Contest Schedule

September 25, 2009 • 7 Comments



We need more time to test all of the great recipes you're submitting, so we're changing the contest schedule slightly. From now on, we'll give you a preview of contest themes on Fridays and officially announce these contest themes on Monday (you can begin submitting recipes then) but the new deadline for submissions will be Friday at midnight. So if you need time on the weekend to perfect your recipes, you should look for the theme previews on Fridays.

This week's contest theme preview:

Recipes with paprika, any kind of paprika

Mushroom soup

Winners will still be revealed on Wednesday, but finalists will now be announced on Thursday.


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Editor's Picks -- Week 14

September 24, 2009 • 2 Comments


Well, it was a record-breaking week for recipe submissions here at food52! We had 77 submissions for Your Best Brunch Eggs, and 51 for Your Best Way to Cook Greens. Needless to say, we did a lot of cooking this week, and we came across a lot of great recipes.

In the egg department, there were some frittatas, stratas and tortillas with really interesting additions (chorizo, crabmeat, spaghetti) and even two recipes that called for making your own bread!

As for the greens, we had two kale chip submissions (a great technique if you've never tried it), several pasta dishes (one of which we chose as a finalist), and even a salad where you "massage" kale in order to tenderize it.

Below are our Editors' Picks for the week:


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