Page 18 - May 2021 Barbecue News Magazine
P. 18

Building The Sport Of Steak Cookoffs!
 The ABC’s of Being a Winning Cook
We all want to hear our number called from the stage, preferably called for first place. Receiving the trophy and big check is great, especially if this is your business. But, let’s be honest, even if there was no big check or remark- able trophy, we would still like to walk as the winner. There can only be one winner but there are 10 chances to walk up there and tell everyone who you are. But how can this hap- pen more often than it does?
Here are what I have called the ABC’s of Being a Winning Cook. This has come from watching cooks be consistently called to the stage whether it is in the ancillaries or steaks. You see the same people at the world championships, but why? What are they doing that we aren’t doing which con- sistently has them earning a golden ticket and points? Here
are the ABC’s of what I have observed.
Attitude of Winning
We’ve all heard the saying, “Attitude determines Altitude.” This is true when it comes to the winning cooks. Speaking with 2017 World Champion, Eric Hodson, he enlightened me when he said, “I come to win. I want to win every con- test and be the one who passes down the golden ticket.” This is the attitude of a winner. Not intimidated by the field of competitors who roll in. He comes in focused on win- ning, and he does it consistently.
Many of us have a great time talking and socializing which takes our focus off the reason we are there. When you have an attitude of winning, you know when to be focused on cooking and when to be the social butterfly. What I noticed is the winners hardly ever leave their sites and rarely speak to others when it is time to get down to business. They aren’t being rude just focusing on the task at hand. When the time comes a winner will talk your ear off, but when the fires are lit, they are all business with an attitude of win- ning.
Back to Basics
Every contest we all look around at the first timers. If you have been cooking in the SCA for any amount of time, then you have cooked in a contest where the winner was a first time cook. Some have even joked that if there are over six first timers in a given cookoff then they are withdrawing. It is fun to watch those who have never cooked an SCA event walk the stage to get a golden ticket. But why does this happen? How can these folks beat world champions? It’s simple, they just cook a steak.
When I first started cooking, I asked these very questions and that was the answer I was given. They don’t overthink the process. They just cook a steak. Sure, they have watched videos of champions and perhaps they have spo- ken to winner. But they just season a steak the way they like, cook it to a medium temp and drive home with the prize. The answer is simple, they just go back to the basics. When a cook isn’t performing the way they think they should, they always go back to the basics. Then they start walking the stages again.
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