The Scarlet Apron Cooking Competition will take place at AEthelmearc War Practice on May 21, 2016.

For more information, please contact Edelvrouw Lijsbet de Keukere at lijsbet [dot] vandelfthout [at] gmail [dot] com

If you are a baker, join us!
If you are a baker, a butcher, a saucier,
A fry-er, A boil-er, a sugar paste sculptor…
If you love to cook, come add fuel to our fire,
For your passion and skills we want you to show us.
Join us!
Join us!
Join us!

Introducing The Scarlet Apron – a new cooking competition to be held at Æthelmearc War Practice (May 19-22, 2016)!

This competition is open to any and all comers who have a penchant for the medieval culinary arts. No matter if you are new to period cooking, or if
it is old hat to you, you are welcome at our table!

The theme for our inaugural year is sure to be a feast for the eyes as well as the belly – Illusion Food! Anyone wishing to participate must create an example of such a food from anywhere in SCA-period. This could be an interpretation of a subtlety that has been described in a cooking text, or an original creation that can be considered “period-plausible” based on its design, construction and the materials used to create it.

All contestants should follow these guidelines:

1. The entry should be made and assembled prior to judging – this is not a competition at which contestants must cook their final product on site.

2. The finished product should be constructed from at least 50% edible material.

3. The use of period construction techniques, including internal shaping structures and edible ingredients is preferred and encouraged.

4. The final product should be registered, signed in, and ready for judging by 11:00 AM on Saturday, May 21. The judging will take place in the Great Hall alongside the A&S competition. Registration/sign-in will open Saturday at 10:00 AM. The final judging will  occur between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM, with the winner announced during court that evening.

5. Contestants should provide a brief written overview (one page, maximum) of their entry, including their inspiration (if it was based on a specific subtlety, the original text of its description; if it was based on something else, then those details), a complete list of the materials used, and a description of how they created the structure.

6. Contestants can choose to sit with their entry during the judging period in order to answer questions from the judges and the populace, however it is not required.

7. Plating and presentation are integral to this competition. Each contestant will get no less than half of a six- or eight-foot table, which should be adorned as befits the entry.

Entries have three potential categories to win: Youth (for contestants age 5-12), Populace Choice, and Overall Winner. Cooks of all skill levels are encouraged to enter!

Any questions should be directed to the competition coordinator, Edelvrouw Lijsbet de Keukere (email above, Keirin Lazauskas-Ralff on Facebook). We are  so excited about this competition, and are looking forward to seeing the beautiful and delicious pieces of art you create!

Yours In Service,
Edelvrouw Lijsbet de Keukere


1) To whom is the Scarlet Apron open?

Anyone and everyone who has a passion for cooking, or even just for challenging themselves, may enter. This competition is open to gentles of all skill levels, whether you have not yet received a Sycamore, or you have long since been named a Laurel.

2) How will the competition be judged?

There will be three categories, each judged differently:
* The Scarlet Apron Champion title will be awarded based on the assessment of our judges. This is determined by how your work is graded according to the rubric. The judging will take place between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM.
* Populace Choice will be awarded to the individual (or small team) who collects the most votes from members of the populace. Each person who comes into the Great Hall to browse the entries will receive a bean, which they may use to vote for their favorite entry. The piece with the most beans at the end of the voting period will win the Populace Choice title. The competition will be open to populace voting from 11:00 Am until 4:00 PM.
* Youth Champion will be awarded to the entrant entered in the Youth category based on the rubric scores give to them by their judges. The Youth category will be judged by members of the populace between the ages of 5 and 12 years old. Youth entries will be judged between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM.

3) Do I have to choose which category I want to be judged within?

No. All adult entrants are automatically eligible for both the Scarlet Apron Champion and the Populace Choice. Youth entries are automatically eligible for all three categories – the Scarlet Apron Champion, Populace Choice, and Youth Champion.

4) Can I enter as part of a team?

Yes. You may enter the competition as an individual, or as a small team of 2-3 people. Please make sure that everyone’s names are included in the registration form, and that each person’s tasks and responsibilities are described in your write-up.

5) I’m not great at writing documentation. Will that affect my ability to compete?

It shouldn’t! We know that writing is not everyone’s strong suit, especially when it comes to academic writing. We will provide a brief questionnaire at the check-in table that will suffice as your documentation for your entry. If you would prefer to print it out and complete it ahead of time, you may Email Edelvrouw Lijsbet at the email above to receive a .PDF file of the questionnaire instead. All entrants are encouraged to provide a short photo diary of their piece. Pictures should include any extant pieces that inspired the finished product and/or the production process, as well as any photos of the actual entry piece being made (progress photos). These will be especially helpful for entries that do not include a whole lot of written documentation. Don’t forget to describe what each photo is!

Your other option is to sit with your entry all day so the judges may have an opportunity to ask you questions about your work. You will need to be present from 11:00 AM through 3:00 PM, or until all of the judges have reported in.

6) Do I need to be present in order to be judged or be declared a winner?

Absolutely not. Your documentation (written piece/questionnaire and your progress photos) should be selected to anticipate many of the judges’ questions. Likewise, you do not need to be present in order to be declared a winner. If you cannot stay to collect your prize, you will be contacted to arrange a pick-up or delivery.

7) I’m nervous about the rubric. Can I see it ahead of time?

Absolutely! It is only fair to know how you will be assessed ahead of time. To request a copy of the rubric that the Scarlet Apron judges will be using, please Email Edelvrouw Lijsbet.

8) Who are the judges?

This year’s judges have been hand selected from the very best of the Kingdom’s cooks, and range from Sycamores to Laurels. All of them have a wealth of experience in the SCA kitchen, and a wide breadth of knowledge of medieval cooking and presentation methods.

9) Does my illusion food/sotelty need to be sweet/a dessert?

No! Many period sotelties were created out of meats, breads, and other savory dishes. Entrants are encouraged to work in whatever edible medium they are comfortable.

10) Will the entries be judged on taste as well as appearance?

We understand that some illusion foods/sotelties in period were meant to be consumed by dinner guests, while others were merely meant to serve as an artistic discussion piece. If your entry would have been consumed in period (for example, a formed pie), then the judges will be assessing the taste. If it was only meant to be an artistic piece, then it will not. Non-edible entries (that is, illusion foods/sotelties that would not have been consumed in period practice) will not experience a penalty in points. Entrants that provide an edible piece should provide their own napkins, paper plates, plastic cutlery, etc. for the judges to use.

11) When and where should I bring my entry to be judged?

The registration table will be open in the Great Hall beginning at 10:00 AM on Saturday. Beginning then, you may bring your entry piece and begin setting it up on your assigned table space. The Scarlet Apron Champion judging will take place between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM that day, while the Populace Choice judging may continue until 4:00 PM.

12) When will I need to collect my entry at the end of the competition?

You may collect your entry beginning at 4:00 PM. It must be removed from the Great Hall in time to set up for Court.

13) When will the winners be announced?

All winners will be announced and prizes awarded in court on Saturday evening.

14) I really want to enter! But I don’t know where to begin! Is there somewhere online I can go to view examples of illusion food/sotelties?

Yes! Edelvrouw Lijsbet has created a Pinterest board that is full of examples of both modern food art and recreations of medieval sotelties to get your creative juices flowing. The board can be found here:

15) Will I need to prepare my entry on site?

No. The competition is only for your finished product. If you need to prepare your entry close to the judging/presentation period, you may do so in your own encampment or at home. The competition will not be providing space in which you may cook or otherwise prepare your entry. There will be no additional benefit to preparing your entry on site versus bringing it from home.

16) What kid of illusion food/sotelty should I plan to make?

You may make any kind of illusion food/sotelty you wish, as long as it remains within “period plausibility.” That means you do not need to create an exact interpretation of a sotelty described in an extant cooking text (though you are encouraged to do so!), but the image/scene it depicts must be one from within SCA-period. You are also encouraged to use period-appropriate materials and construction techniques. Doing so will improve your rubric score.

17) Do I need to pre-register?

No. Currently, there is no registration form available online with which to pre-register for this competition. However, if you are planning on entering, please Email Edelvrouw Lijsbet (email above) to ensure we have enough table space!

18) How much room will I have to set up my entry?

You will have no less than half of one 6-foot picnic table. Depending on how many entrants we have on the day of the competition, this may be expanded to allow for a full table space per entrant. Be prepared for at least 3 feet of table space, and if you are able to expand to 6 feet, you may be able to do so. You will not be penalized if you have the opportunity to use the full 6 feet, but only use a portion of it.

19) Will I need to dress my table space?

It is not required, but strongly encouraged. Because this is, for all intents and purposes, a show piece, presentation is key to your display. You should plan on providing as much ambiance as you can to set the scene for your entry piece. This may include table linens, dishes, floral or other artistic arrangements, candles, or anything else that may add to the spectacle of your piece.

20) Will any table dressings be available on the day of the competition?

We will have a limited supply of basic, plastic picnic tablecloths available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you need one, you may request one when you arrive to register in the morning on the day of the competition. No advance requests will be accepted.

21) I cannot make it to War Practice, but I would still like to submit an entry. Can someone else bring and set up my piece on my behalf?

Yes! Please just make sure all of the components for judging are included, and that the person bringing your entry puts YOUR name and contact information on the registration sheet.

22) Does my entry need to be period?

Your score will certainly increase if you base your entry on a period sotelty and/or use period materials and construction techniques, however the only REQUIREMENT is that your entry be “period-plausible,” dealing with SCA-period subject matter. In other words, it should depict a medieval scene or subject (like a scene out of a period manuscript, something out of a period story like Le Morte d’Arthur, or even a medieval depiction of an animal or article of clothing). If you cannot use all period materials/construction techniques to create this, explain why in your documentation questionnaire.