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The Annual Cook Off

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Mighty Quinn Cook Off

  • 1850 Elm St Stratford, CT, 06615 United States (map)



 Welcome to the Third Annual Mighty Quinn Cook Off. We hope what follows answers all your questions. If not contact one of the Rooneys.


 July 4th, 2015   teams can arrive starting 1:00 p.m.  (Rain dates are for wimps so we have none!) . See times below for serving courses

On the Grounds of the Shakespeare Theatre , 1850 Elm St. Stratford



The 2014 theme was All American Barbeque in honor of our Shakespeare Academy students from all over America. This year we have added students from around the world so we will consider EVERY KIND OF GRILLED FOOD OTHER THAN THE U.S.A.  . You must select a COUNTRY OF ORIGIN. You will be given extra points if you can pick up that country’s theme in each of the courses. (E.g. if you picked Japan, do a Saki drink and a sushi inspired appetizer).

The point will be for all of us to share in the food cooked by others so please plan to serve your various courses in portions. See “PRESENTATION” rules below.


In the past we have tolerated a large amount of loosey- goosey whining when people did not hit the timing mark. This year there will be point deductions for each five minutes or portion thereof that the item arrives late to the table


            The Team Captains will meet with the Rules Committee (Chris), and receive last minute instructions as well as the “Secret Ingredient”.   


See notes above on preparation and notes below on presentation. Drinks may be made and assembled off site. Drinks can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic.   The Appetizers must be grilled on site.


MAIN COURSE –this must be  GRILLED on the Weber grill ON SITE. It must incorporate the SECRET INGREDIENT.

          SIDE DISH—see notes above on preparation and notes below on presentation.

 6:30   DESSERT

            You do not have to incorporate the secret ingredient and you definitely do not have to grill it but these plus country of origin will count extra.


Our judges will announce the results of the competition and give prizes for each individual items as well as a best in class trophy to the overall winner. 

            THE COURSES

DRINK—This can be prepared in advance, better if it includes some authentic drink for your COUNTRY OF ORIGIN. Not required to contain the secret ingredient but if you can, you get extra points.

APPETIZER—Must be grilled. Can be partially assembled off-site. Must incorporate the secret ingredient. Extra points if you can bald-faced lie that it is part of the cuisine of the country of origin.

MAIN DISH—You can pick and plan this item on your own and you supply enough of it to serve ten to twelve people. You can even do prep such as marinade in advance (however must be homemade not store bought). IT MUST BE COOKED ON SITE (no pre-cooking and then warming on the grill)  You must be prepared to incorporate THE SECRET INGREDIENT ON SITE. You  will be AUDITED for, and must present  your recipe at the competition, since we know none of you will have this recipe in you “Favorites” file. If it is an “interpretation” of the cuisine of the country by Martha Stewart or Jacque Pepin, you will lose points. Bobby Flay is okay as is any other chef from the Food Network. 

SIDE DISH—extra points for sticking to the theme of your country of origin. MUST INCLUDE THE SECRET INGREDIENT.

DESSERT—Call us luddites but we are not aware of any desserts originating from outside Western Europe that would be a universal crowd pleaser. If you are able to come up with one from your country of origin, you get extra points, but everyone else will be judged on a straight flavor/presentation basis. We will however take into account your ability to incorporate either the secret ingredient (e.g. sardine ice cream, if that were the secret ingredient) or some thematic aspect (e.g. ice cream served in a clean wooden shoe if Holland were your country of origin).

Each Team should bring enough other food to feed their team (which will include 2 students) and will be competing in five categories – drink, appetizer, main dish, side dish and dessert. Please read the important note on PRESENTATION since this is a part of the scoring sheet.  You will be cooking on a Weber 22.5 inch charcoal grill.  We will provide a grill if you need one, charcoal, and wood chips of all types should you decide to smoke your entrée.


We have appointed a captain for each team. YOU MUST LISTEN TO YOUR CAPTAIN, EVEN IF YOU DO NOT LIKE THEM. They will organize the sorry lot of people who are your team mates.

We will give them your contact information so that they can get you working on something either in advance or on site. Please co-operate with them.

The secret ingredient is…. a secret.  You find out what it is and will be given it at the Captain’s meeting at 2:00. Your Captains will be given the secret ingredient at 2:00. That gives you a couple of hours on wireless internet to brainstorm how to incorporate it.  You will be scored on how well you incorporate it in each course (except dessert).


There will be SECRET judges. Who they are and how many there are will be a SECRET until the scores are announced


We want everyone to have a chance to do this up big in terms of presentation but at the same time make the food available for all. EVERY TEAM WILL PRESENT A SAMPLE OF THE MEAL WITH FULL PRESENATION ON A PLATE OR IN A GLASS BUT THE VAST MAJORITY OF YOUR ITEM SHOULD BE READY FOR CONSUMPTION BY THE MASSES IN SMALL PORTIONS. Your sample item must be on the judge’s table at the appointed time and you need to have a representative ready to describe it to the masses. You should have plate of smaller portions available but not at the judge’s table but back at your grilling area. So by way of example, if your drink is a margharita, you would prepare one full sized glass with salt on the rim and a cactus floating in it or whatever but back at the cooking area have little six ounce plastic cups which may and an assembly line where people can make up a smaller version by adding the salt on the rim and throwing a little chunk of cactus.      


The good news is that your culinary accomplishments will be served for all to share. Our hope is to get everyone mingling a bit and getting served samples at each of the cooking areas.  This way the secret judges as well as everyone else can taste the competition.  When the appointed time arrives you only need to put up one item on the judge’s table and once everyone had heard from each team representative, we adjourn to enjoy what other people cooked. This only works if you bring enough food to feed everyone on your own team.  If you follow this rule, everyone will be well fed.


We have a Rules Committee of one. Chris Rooney. You are entitled to register a protest IN WRITING with the Rules Committee and it will be given the same careful consideration that all prior protests have. By way of warning, if your formal protest is unsuccessful you must buy a round of drinks at the Two Roads Brewery for the entire assembled masses, so bring you wallet.  


This is all up to the secret judges!


Quinn had a “NO WHINING” sign in his room, which carried with it a fine for violations.  In his honor, there will be no whining about the rules, the judging, your team mates or anything to do with the event.  There is no crying in baseball and no whining at any Mighty Quinn event.  Anyone found violating the rule will be required to buy a beer from the local liquor store for every man, woman and child at the event.  (Parents get to keep the beer of under aged children until the reach adult age). Formal protests are still allowed (See note above on the Rules Committee) however we require it in writing so we don’t have to listen to you whine.   


We will set up volleyball and croquet.  If it is a hot day, we will try to set up the wet slide for the kids to keep cool.   Weather reports seem to predict a much cooler day than last year!


We will provide beer sodas and water.


We will provide a 22 inch Weber grill, the charcoal and the wood chips.  We will also provide tables, chairs, and paper goods.  (You will need to bring cooking utensils).  We have most herbs and spices in modest amounts.  We have some fresh herbs as well.  You will have access to our kitchen ovens.  However, freezer and refrigerator space will be limited.


Any questions, please call world headquarters of the Mighty Quinn Fund at Sue’s cell 203-218-2838.  You probably all know better than to try to call Chris on his cell but if you are really desperate, dial 203-980-9997.


We are ask that you support the Mighty Quinn Foundations through a tax deductible contribution. We thank you for any contributions you have made in the past in advance for your contributions.  On the Mighty Quinn Foundation Website there is a credit card/pay pal donation link.  For those that prefer to donate the old fashioned way, checks should be made out to the “Mighty Quinn Foundation.”