Dumpling Cook Off

I REALLY wanted to make this post about how Sunday’s Dumpling Cook Off at Mr. Smalls was THE BEST food event ever, and how it totally rocked my socks off. But I can’t write that post with a straight face.


I first learned of the event through Mr. Smalls events email. With such Pittsburgh famous sponsors as Crested Duck, Mon Aimee, and Enrico Biscotti, I’m surprised this event wasn’t better publicized. I suspect the quality of entries suffered because of it.

Yes, I understand that this was an amateur cookoff, but if you’ve got the chops to declare YOUR dumplings the best in Pittsburgh, they better be GOOD. To be the best, you don’t have to work in a restaurant, but your dumplings should be at or better than restaurant quality. Of the 15 entries, I’d say 5 were excellent, 5 were fair, and 5 were flat out bad. In my opinion, there is no room for “bad” in a cooking competition. Maybe I’m too much of a perfectionist, but if something doesn’t turn out the way I want, I dump it out and move on. I don’t serve failed recipes.


I was also frustrated that this event was advertised as “kid friendly,” (our kid was one of many there) but the emcee was spouting profanity. They could have made it an adult only event. I would have been cool with that, and would have gotten a sitter. But if you’re going to promote an event as child friendly, it actually should be child friendly.


Baby Beez didn’t care about the cursing. The only thing she cared about was getting more Lobster Mac & Cheese Dumplings.

This event has potential to be really fun and really unique, but the logistics of it need a lot of work. Admission was only $10, so that’s a fair price for the draft beer and plates of dumplings we got. But I feel like this event could be a lot better, and just missed the mark in this first iteration.


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