Early starts have never been my forte, but on Sunday the alarm rang at 5am so I could catch an early bird flight to Melbourne and take in cookery judging for the city’s 2010 show, which starts on Saturday. In Melbourne, most of the cookery is judged a whole week before the hall opens, with two public judging sessions following a few days later so competitors can attend and listen to the judges giving direct feedback as they work their way through the entries. Different classes are judged in this way each year, with breadbaking and preserves taking the spotlight this time around.
A wonderful team of enthusiastic volunteers from across the State help to run the cookery and preserves sections, drawing on a team of judges with either professional training or a long personal history as show cooks and judges. This year they had to work their way through a record number of entries in the cookery section – more than 700. The stand-out in terms of number and shear creativity were undoubtedly the decorated cup cake classes, with some of the entries from junior cooks defying belief. And just imagine what is to come, if Junior Masterchef has the same impact on young cooks as it has the rest of us in terms of inspiring more people to bake.