A Corny Festival to Launch in Brooklyn


With the dog days of summer ’12 to slug through, let’s look forward to a brand-new food festival that will make its debut in Brooklyn soon. On September 16th, Mike Stewart and Charlie Mirisola of the blog, The Brooklynauts, are introducing the Kings County Corn Bowl, “the corniest cookoff ever.” Be prepared to taste several homemade dishes by a hand-selected group of amateur chefs at the event, which will take place in the beer garden of TBD in Greenpoint. The festival also promises live music, whiskey, prizes and lots of shucking as part of a newly minted annual harvest festival for the community and its nearby farms. But the corn bowl is just the first of many cookoffs that the Gastronauts plan to hold or record as part of a larger network of events.

“Charlie and I started the Brooklynauts a few years back to compete in cooking competitions all over Brooklyn. But we realized we’d created a team for a sport that had no league,” said Stewart. “That is, your performance at one cookoff had no bearing on the next. Sure, you’d recognize a few fellow competitors, but there was no unity, no continuity between events.” So, as with a bowling or softball league, the organizers hope to raise the bar for friendly competition by making available a scoreboard of winner results available for all cookoffs in Brooklyn, to start off with. They’ve created GastroGladiators.com, a website that will serve as a central resource for the cooking competition community. “You’ll be able to see upcoming events, view results from past events, and ultimately have a profile page where you can record your stats… wins, losses, recipes and the like.” says Stewart. And any group holding a cookoff can register it to be included on the site, or any team that’s just entering one.

The Kings County Corn Bowl will soon announce its chef lineup and more details, such as the panel of judges who will be critiquing the entries, along with the general audience. Each chef will receive a bushel of sweet corn from the Upstate New York-based Paffenroth Gardens the week of the event to bring home and start making their dream dishes with. There are no limitations to what that entails beyond using this not-so-secret ingredient.

Why corn? “It’s incredibly versatile, and plays a key role in some of our favorite summer dishes,” summarized Stewart. Alas, corn was not to be found on the Gastronauts latest cooking competition entry, a hot dog — or rather, a hamburger shaped like one — that the team had concocted for the 7th Annual Great Hot Dog Cookoff in Williamsburg in July. Mike and Charlie didn’t end up winning any awards in that event, but posted extensive coverage of their efforts on their blog, with a wrap-up of the day’s victories and eating excesses.

It was telling of their upcoming venture anyway: “We are planning more seasonal, invite-only events, but our main goal is uniting the amazing people we’ve met along the way. We admire their talent, passion, and gusto for food, and frankly we just want to be friends with all of them. Is that corny?”

Get advance tickets and more details at kingscountycornbowl

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