Amateur Chefs Frequently Asked Questions

Who Benefits From the Event?

Sign UP for Guys Can Cook/A Taste of West County
This event is a fundraiser for The Rotary Club of Sebastopol Sunrise, which supports local concerns through a Community Grants Program as well as international humanitarian projects. For more information about the programs and activities of The Rotary Club of Sebastopol Sunrise

Who May Participate?

Restaurant professionals are excluded. Please contact us at for more information.

What are the Competition Categories?

The four basic food categories are Appetizers, Soups and Salads, Main Dishes, and Desserts. Prizes, based on a combination of popular voting and a jury of Celebrity Judges are awarded for each category and for the best overall dish. Special prizes are also awarded to Best Junior Talent, Best Booth Display, Best Rotarian Chef.

How is judging done?

Popular Voting, 30% - Guests and attendees may identify their favorite dish by placing tokens at the amateur chef's table. The most popular dishes are those with the most tokens. 

Juried Voting, 70% - A panel of six Celebrity Judges taste samples from each category and judge on a scale of 1-10 based on
  • Taste, texture and aroma (30%)
  • Originality/creativeness in the choice of recipe and lastly (30%)
  • Visual appearance on the plate (10%)
Prizes will be awarded based on the combination of judges scores and popular voting scores. The amateur chefs with the highest combined score will win cash awards. The overall winner (highest total scoring) is awarded $ 1,000. Each category winner (4) is awarded $100.

How much food do I need to prepare?

You should prepare 400 heaping tablespoon (or sushi bite size) servings of your dish. That's not as much as it sounds. One ounce is only one good mouthful, not a normal serving size. We expect over 250 attendees. Some will taste take one serving, while others may take several. Be prepared for MANY tasting your entry.

Do I need to provide a copy of my recipe?

We encourage you to provide us with a copy of your recipe so that it may be included in our future cookbooks. Consider having courtesy copies of your recipe available at your booth. You never know, it might sway a vote or two! Chefs at prior events have printed postcard-size recipe cards and displayed them at their station.

Do I need to bring anything to serve the food?

Be sure to bring whatever pans, serving spoons, platters, knives, spatulas, ladles or tongs you may need to serve your dish. However, small plastic cups and napkins will be provided for the individual servings. If your dish requires something unusual for the individual serving (skewers, for example) you should provide your own. Guests will be provided with plates, glasses and eating utensils.

How can I keep my food hot/warm/cold?

It's best to bring your own ice chests or insulated boxes to hold the food at the desired temperature. A limited number of warming trays are available by advanced reservation. The availability of electricity is extremely limited.

What are the Health and Safety guidelines?

Please keep in mind that you will be serving food to the public. If you are not feeling well, please do not prepare or serve food. Be extra careful during preparation to keep all kitchenware and utensils clean and all the foodstuffs properly stored and free from contamination. At the event, cold food should be maintained at 40 degrees or below. Hot food should be maintained at 135 degrees or above. When serving, please use utensils or toothpicks if possible. 

Please wash your hands often, especially after eating, touching part of your face, coughing or sneezing, smoking or using the restroom. A bottle of sanitizer solution will be provided to each Chef. Please follow proper safety guidelines when preparing and handling food especially when dealing with meats. Enclosed is some information that we hope will help you in your preparation.

How much space will I have?

You will have 4-feet of an 8-foot table for serving and an equivalent space behind you for preparation. Chefs serving Appetizers and Desserts have less space depending on the final floor plan.

Can I bring helpers?

You are entitled to bring only one sous chef (admission free) to help you. You and your sous chef must check in at the same time. You are responsible for your sous chef knowing health and safety guidelines.

When and where, do I show up to set up my table?

You and your sous chef must check in at Participant Registration. Please be prepared for a short vehicle unloading time limit. This allows for a steady flow of traffic behind you. Unloading assistance will be available to you. At registration you will receive your name badges and location of your assigned station. Check in time starts at 2:00 pm. Event doors open at 4:00 pm so you'll need to be ready to start serving by 3:45 pm to facilitate event flow, last minute concerns and judging. More information will be provided to you two weeks prior to the event.

What's this about decorating my table?

Since presentation can be as important as the food itself, you are encouraged to decorate your table (and yourself). An award will be presented for the best booth display so give it your all and have fun with it. Please consider space limitations. Send us an email if you have any concerns or questions. Advertising and the distribution of promotional materials for one's own business is prohibited.

What time does clean up start?

The Live Auction starts at 7:00 pm so tear down and clean-up of all food and beverage booths can start at that time. Please be sure to check and double check for all the items you brought with you. We cannot be responsible for items left behind.
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This event benefits local West Sonoma County schools, non-profit and community organizations (Community Grants Projects) and Rotary International humanitarian projects.

For more information about Rotary, please visit our website at Rotary Club of Sebastopol Sunrise. 501(c)3 Tax ID: 52-2385555.