Brooklyn cook-offs: all-you-can-eat chili, battling brunches

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Allison Kave's bourbon ginger pecan pie, winner of the First Annual Brooklyn Pie Bake-off

Brooklyn’s full of budding chefs, cooks and bakers trying to make a name for themselves with the next big edible thing. But even when the product’s there, getting it noticed can be the hard part. Hard, but not impossible, thanks to Brooklyn’s ever-simmering competitive cooking scene. Cook-offs, of endless varieties, seem to be everywhere: Burger Cook-offs, Pie Bake-offs, Crostini Cook-offs… The competitors win prizes and reap the rewards, and the spectators, well, someone needs to try the 30 different kinds of tacos. The events are as much for what the handful of masters cook up as for what the masses eat. And a few of these culinary contests are coming up soon (two this weekend).

Grillin’ on the Bay 2010, Saturday, Mar. 27, 11 a.m., E. 18th St. and Ave. Z, Sheepshead Bay
This is really two-in-one: a judged barbecue contest and chili smackdown. There’ll be five grilling categories and best overall. Tickets are $10, which gets you all the chili you can eat (BBQ and other food will be available for purchase). Proceeds benefit the St. Mark School in Sheepshead Bay.

The Brunch Experiment, Sunday, Mar. 28, 12-4 p.m., The Bell House
Cooking competition old hats Theo Peck and Nick Suarez bring us yet another of their popular Experiments. Likely dozens of brunch aficionados will go head-to-head, battling to see who will be the Master of Brunch—and with only a chafing dish and a couple of sternos to keep the food warm during the competition. Competitors’ details here. Tickets are $20/advance, $25/door.

The Lamb Takedown, Sunday, Apr. 18, 4 p.m., The Bell House
The cooks in this completion are each given 15 pounds of a cut of lamb and they cook away—and then you eat it. Competition’s closed out. Tickets are $15, which gets you lamb in as many different ways as you’ve ever had it—and probably more.

Guactacular 2010, Wednesday, May 5, 7 p.m., The Bell House (apparently a competitive chef incubator of sorts)
There’ll be 20 different guacamoles on-hand for this Cinco de Mayo fest. Free Mexican beer from 7 to 8, and $3 Mexican beers all night. Email [email protected] for competition details. Tickets are $12/advance, $15/door.


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