Hands-On Cook-Off Contest April 15 – May 15

British Columbia’s popular, multigenerational cooking contest is back and better than ever in celebration of its tenth anniversary this spring. The Hands-on Cook-off contest returns from April 15th to May 15th, and is gearing up to celebrate another year of promoting the family dinner movement in BC by encouraging participants of all ages (our youngest competitor to date was only 18 months old!) to reap the benefits of cooking together, eating together, and most importantly, making lasting memories together in the kitchen.

This contest is a tradition that many BC families look forward to each year, and for good reason: new research shows that families that cook together and share meals on a regular basis experience valuable lifelong benefits, such as improved lifelong dietary intake and healthier overall eating habits, including higher intakes of fruits and vegetables and lower intakes of fast food and takeout meals for both female and male youths in both high-functioning and low-functioning family environments.

This year, the contest theme is memory-making in the kitchen, and throughout the month-long contest, we’ll be taking a look back at memorable past entries and celebrating important milestones to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the contest.

Fast Facts:
• The total number of entries over the years: Over 335!
• The highest number of entries ever received in one year: 51 entries were received in 2017
• Total cash prizes that were given away: $35,000
• Total number of schools who have participated: 72
• Youngest participant: 18 months old
• Oldest participant: 94
• Total number of pasta dishes: 30
• Total number of towns in BC represented: 45
• The total number of belly laughs seen on camera: Too many to count.


Q: Why is this contest so popular, and what’s it all about?
A: This contest is all about bringing families together through food and fun in the kitchen! Research shows that families that cook together and share meals on a regular basis experience valuable lifelong benefits. What could be better than food, fun, and making lasting memories in the kitchen?

Q: What are the top three most popular recipes participants have prepared over the years?
A: Pasta dishes, pancakes, and cakes.

Q: What is the most far-reaching town the contest has received entries from over the years?
A: Entries flood in from all over the province, including submissions from 100 Mile House, Castlegar, Port Alberni, and Enderby.

Q: What’s the trick to an “award-winning” submission?
A: We love to see people enjoying themselves in the kitchen! Our judges are always inspired by the positive energy from participants, the teamwork shown in videos, and the stories behind the recipes.

Q: How many submissions are you hoping to receive this year for the 10th anniversary?
A: In 2017, we received a record-breaking 51 submissions, and our goal is to top that number in celebration of ten years of celebrating the family dinner movement in BC!

Q: Is there anything new about the contest this year?
A: For the first time ever, we’re introducing an additional prize category (which means an additional chance to win cash prizes!). Returning participants will be automatically entered into the alumni draw category for the chance to win a $500 cash prize, which rewards them for returning as an ‘alumni’ and partaking in our challenge again this year.

Q: Who can enter the contest and how can they do so?
A: Any resident of BC is encouraged to enter the contest with a family member of their choice.

Q: Who are the judges in this year’s contest?
A: Ned Bell, Ocean Wise Executive Chef and Culinary Director of the Vancouver Club, David Hawksworth, Chef/Owner at Hawksworth Restaurant Group, Claire Newell, travel expert and media personality, Susie Wall, style and entertainment expert, Samantha Gutmanis, food editor and blogger, Honourable Lana Popham, B.C.’s Minister of Agriculture, and Anna Brisco, chef, registered dietitian and nutrition educator.

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