Texas Connects Us: State Fair Pizza Cook-Off

If you visit the Creative Arts Building at the State Fair of Texas, chances are you'll come across a cooking contest.

Contestants are after the coveted blue ribbon, bragging rights, and having their recipe printed in a book that will be sold at next year's fair.

"We started competing back in '82," said Kim Ritchie, as she wheeled in a wagon full of fresh ingredients. "This wagon's seen a lot of years."

The pizza cook-off is an annual tradition for Ritchie, but sitting across the table on this day was first-timer, Joel Fernandes.

"Pretty much you just go at your own pace and when it's done, you just turn it in," Fernandes said.

Fernandes is a firefighter in Plano.

"Most times I'm the cook at my particular station," he joked. "Yep, it's true, we like to eat."

Another contestant working hard on a prize-worthy pizza was stay at home mom, Erin Lucci.

"I didn't quite bring my whole kitchen," she said, as she unloaded her cart of supplies. "I love cooking."

Lucci has seven kids.

"They're the worst critics because they're very honest," she added.

Most of her kids were there to support her, the way only they can.

"Well, since we're part Italian, it's really hard for us to give good feedback," one daughter joked.

The rules for the state fair pizza cook-off are simple: make a meat lover's, vegetable or dessert pizza in two hours or less.

Oh, and as contestant Peter Clarac said, "You just try to beat everybody else."

Everyone comes up with their own recipe, and this year Ritchie rolled away with another blue ribbon.

Find more information about the cooking competitions on the State Fair of Texas website.

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