Judging Chocolate: How Would You Design a Chocolate Competion?
Chocolate competitions. They exist.
In the end, most competitions end up with tiered awards (gold, silver, bronze) with some special achievement recognitions. The winners get to use a seal to identify that they have won, and the seal can be used in marketing and packaging to build sales.
To get to that point, competitions need entry guidelines, category definitions, judging methodology, judging guidelines, scoring forms, and more. And competent judges. The goal is to recognize good work, but there is also the need to communicate what exactly that means.
In 2008 I was the head judge for the Next Generation Chocolatier competition, organized by industry veteran Curtis Vreeland. In that role I had to come up with the entire fabric of the competition - and oversaw the judging itself. In 2011, I worked on defining the Chocolate category for the Good Food Awards and in 2012 I worked on defining the Confectionery category for the Good Food Awards and was a judge in the confectionery category for two years as well.
So I know first-hand how difficult it is – and that’s with a relatively small number of entries and categories. When the number of categories balloons, the number of entries rises into the hundreds and thousands, and the number of awards skyrockets, the complexity becomes incredibly difficult to manage. That complexity belies the simplicity of putting a seal on a box that says the product is a winner.
So, the question is, if you were to start up a chocolate competition today, what would it look like? What would you want to recognize and how would you do it?