Some of the tastiest recipes are those you can find buried in folded, stapled, community-sourced cookbooks put out by church groups or women’s guilds. Coming across a dog-eared copy in a used bookstore sometimes feels like finding gold.
Meeting professionals comprise a community, too — albeit one that’s slightly more far-flung — with a wealth of recipes between them. Last year, MGM Resorts International tapped that collective culinary mojo for a Recipe Showdown, a traveling event which hit 12 U.S. cities last summer and pitted planners — and their recipes for such dishes as blueberry cobbler and Trout Florentine — against one another in a Top Chef-style competition.
The winners from each city eventually competed in Las Vegas, where their recipes were judged by a trio of poker-faced culinary professionals, including James Beard Award-winning chef Julian Serrano. The top prize went to a luscious-looking lamb moussaka from Vancouver CMP Melissa Moskal, who told judges it was a dish she perfected on Sundays, when she cooks casseroles to eat all week long.
Instead of a stapled booklet, the winning recipes — Moskal’s moussaka and a cherry-chocolate bread pudding among them— were collected in its modern equivalent, a downloadable PDF. On June 2, MGM will kick off another Recipe Showdown in Washington, D.C., that wraps in Chicago on September 17. Just like last year, the winner from each city competes in a final showdown in Las Vegas in October – and the chance to win a trip to Miami’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival next winter.
Meeting professionals keen to put their secret recipes to the test can check out the dates here. If I were eligible, I might whip up some duck braised in wine. Instead, I’ll watch (and drool) from the sidelines.