To clarify, this contest is not to be confused with the former National Chicken Cooking Contest, which ended its 60-year, 48-competition run in 2009, citing economic challenges.
That the grand prize of the national competition ranged from $50,000 to $100,000 per year probably had something to do with the downsizing. (Start a new contest and you're not reducing the price down to $10,000, you're starting out with the generous sum of $10,000.) It turns out this writer was an (unpaid) judge in 2009. Ah, the wonders of unknowingly participating in a moment of chicken dinner history.
As for the Fresh Chicken Cooking Contest, the recipe deadline for West Coast contestants -- California, Oregon and Washington -- is June 3. Get the full contest rules here. In brief, Foster Farms chicken must be used, and the "fresh" side of the new contest includes other recipe ingredients as well -- a good thing, as there were an awful lot of canned and powdered soups in those former national chicken contest entries.
Another good thing? The semifinals judging previously was held at Foster Farms' corporate headquarters in Livingston, which is about as much fun as it sounds (fluorescent lights, corporate conference rooms, printed agendas). This year, the semifinals are at local culinary schools (two semifinal winners from each of the three states receive $1,000). And the final taste-off for those six semifinal winners will be held at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, located in a gorgeous 19th-century former winery, with travel to Napa and lodging in wine country covered.
Now that's a good reason to start scrolling through those chicken recipes.