So, is there any way to find out why your submission was NOT chosen - so I can fix/tweak or know for next time?
Does this question concern community picks? The editorial process?
Lots of wonderful recipes are submitted for every contest. It's not possible for the staff/judges to choose all of them. If yours wasn't chosen, that doesn't mean it needs "fixing," just that it didn't catch the eye/imagination of the judges. All of us who participate on Food52 have had the experience of submitting a favorite recipe we were sure would be the winner only to have it not even make the first cut. It happens! If you keep submitting recipes, you'll score one of these times. In the meantime, this is a fun community of enthusiastic and excellent cooks.
I agree with ChefJune. Others have expressed frustration with the process. As a longtime contributor here let me offer a couple of tips; your headnotes are as important as your actual recipe. You need to explain what makes your "barbecue" recipe more interesting than the other entries. Is there a history behind the recipe? Also think about what to call it. Example; just calling it say, "T-bone" isn't going to sell it to the editors. So be creative. And good luck!
When I test a recipe, I usually send my notes to the recipe creator in the form of a private message. There are times when I was surprised a recipe wasn't chosen (and times when I was surprised that it was). Everyone has different tastes, and sometimes recipes aren't chosen because not everyone liked them or they were difficult to make--things that I imagine you'd appreciate knowing. I actually think it would be helpful if the editors sent each person who was nominated a synopsis of the reviews so you could see what the comments were. I also think it would be great if testers would send tactful reviews to recipe writers. Not necessarily in the comments section, but often the comments help people who want to try a recipe create better versions of even really good recipes.
There's a quick bread recipe here called Wake Up Cocoa Cake that a bunch of us tried and liked better with less flour. I just made it again, and noticed that the recipe had been edited to reflect the amount of flour that the community preferred. I think that kind of feedback is really important for the good of the community, with the caveat to be tactful and supportive even if you're being critical of something.
I completely agree with Dr.Babs. Over the past two contests I've tested two recipes myself. I sent in my editorial comments----all 100 words of them. But I also copied them to the recipe authors to let them know that someone had actually tested it and how it turned out. Off the page I also offered some additional thoughts. And of course they can message me back if they disagree or have a question, but I'm not the final arbiter.
I agree with all of the above comments. In addition, you are able to submit previously posted recipes to current contests. Don't hesitate to do that. I have had the good luck to submit recipes to more than one contest that were later selected for CP honors. And the editors often select Wildcard winning recipes that have not been singled out in earlier contests. I agree with pierino that the editors pay attention to creative recipe titles and interesting head notes. Try to explain why your recipe stands out from the pack. I think that the editors are often looking for creative and innovative recipes and techniques. I think that it's a plus to submit some kind of a photo, if you can. Also, I would encourage you to sign up to be a recipe tester. I've learned a lot about cooking and techniques and what the editors may be looking for just by testing some of the various recipes on the site submitted by talented cooks. Good luck -- and I hope that you'll keep entering contests!
P.S. Love drbabs's idea about the editors sending a synopsis of testing comments to CP candidates -- this kind of input would be so helpful!
I agree with everything posted above. I just keep posting recipes that I love and that work for me--and I've had several CPs and one finalist recipe. I was so surprised when one of my recipes was a finalist (after lots of rejections). To me, that surprise was probably the best part of being part of the community.
For a little historical perspective, in the early days of Food52 A&M would chose the finalists and sometimes even produce groovy videos so that you could see them actually prepare it for tasting. I remember Amanda's kids tasting my tripe. But after that it became a popularity contest. At that time the membership was small. Now it's in the thousands. I'm glad to say that they've addressed the "popularity" issue with the revised community picks process. But editors do and should play a vital role in selecting what gets tested. I have no complaints with the process whatsoever.
I guess I'll just add that my tripe ("Nose to Tail") didn't win.
I too agree with pierino, my observation (without any actual insight into the editorial process) is that it helps to have your dish stand out in some way. Maybe it is the name, the story, new combination of ingredients, or a different spin on a traditional recipe. And on top of that, needless to say, some good cooking. But that is probably where your power over the selection process stops. If we could predict who will make it into next round and why, the competitions would not be fun. This site would not be fun. Cooking would not be fun. It would be plain predictable. I know this sounds totally lame, but just keep on cooking, submit your best food, make friends on the site and have fun! And good luck!
Also, keep in mind that the recipe contests are games, and the editors probably have something in mind that they're looking for. Like in the recent cereal contest, the finalists were ice cream and pasta-- neither of which are the first things that come to mind when you think of cereal. I recently had a finalist recipe in the noodle soup competition-- I took a basic soup and put a twist on it. The winning recipe was restaurant quality-- it took 3 days to make, and was probably nuanced and flavorful (I didn't make it.). So another thing you could do is look at old contests and the two finalists in each, and try to figure out what the game was. Then you would understand the editors' point of view better, and that could inform your future submissions. But really, sometimes it's just a surprise. And it's a numbers game. If there are over a hundred submissions, the chances of getting chosen are pretty low. Try not to take it personally.
In following this thread what I would also say to MamaCass is that you have been receiving advice from some of the best cooks I know here. DrBabs mentions the "game". I put on my game face with the understanding that there is ALWAYS going to be a better cook than me. I strive constantly to be better than that cook and understand why they are better than me. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And I think that is one way to go at it.
Amen! I always submit with the understanding that there is always someone faster,smarter and ahead of the game than I am!
Also, MamaCass I live! in your community. I would be more than happy to cook/bake/jam with you if you are interested. I have been literally begging for a Food52 meetup for three years. I don't know that I have as much to offer as other members, but I think I do pretty okay. Message me if you are interested.
I wish the people who tried recipes gave more feedback. I recently got a private message about a recipe that just didn't work for the person who tried it. I really appreciated that feedback and would want to leave comments or make changes so that anyone else finding the recipe could benefit. Maybe it would help to offer the ability to post comments or send messages anonymously so that people did not feel awkward about it. Because aside from the actual 'game' of the contests, the recipes end up being a source for a much wider audience and it serves everyone to have the best recipes we can muster.