Royal Baker Competition

Greetings to the Populace.

The time for the Royal Baker competition is upon us and therefore, the details of such competition are now being made available to you.

The Premise:

Imagine you are the head baker for Henry the VIII, in the year 1500. He is having a massive feast and you are required to prepare a loaf of bread to be served with the savory items and a desert to conclude the meal. Henry has bragged to the entire court about your baking prowess, so it is on you to impress not only your King, but all those others in attendance as well. You would like to keep your job, so impressing their tastebuds is paramount. What will you bake? 

The Rules:

To compete, you must make one loaf of bread (at least) fit for service with savory items and one incredible desert to end the meal.

Required: One Savory Loaf of Bread

Required: One desert item

The Documentation:

Ingredients:  You can use any ingredient that you could come across as a baker, in England, in the year of 1500. This does not limit you to local fare. There was a ton of trading between England and a variety of other lands in the 1500s so as long as you can legitimize access to an ingredient, you can use it. (Please document this part carefully and be able to answer questions.)

Recipe: You are not required to make an English recipe from the 1500’s. This competition is about you and your persona. It is not a far stretch to think that Henry wouldn’t have employed a baker from another place, so long as they produced delicious foods. So you, your recipes, and ingredients can be from anywhere that access can be historically established. 

While it is traditional in the Royal Baker competition to faithfully redact and follow a recipe, that is not a requirement here. While you are more than welcome to do so, this competition was created with a specific idea in mind: Bakers have always taken the recipes of others and made them their own. Maybe you put a dash of this and leave out that?  Maybe you find it works better for you and pleases your audience more if you omit one thing and add another. Give us an idea of what you started with and where you sourced it and you are good to go.

The Path to Success:

What does winning look like? Your ultimate goal is a clean plate at the end of the competition. You are not required to meet the mark of a medieval palate. However, you are required to meet the mark of the modern palate using period techniques and ingredients. 

While it would be neat to see what base recipe you are initially working from, this competition focuses on your understanding of your audience, their tastes, and how to meet them. What do our current reigning monarchs like? Answer that question and you’ll have some sure footing. The mouths that will be tasting your food won’t be time travelers from the 1500’s. They will be your fellow SCAdians and as we all know, SCAdians love to eat! 

The Judging

While you will be judged by Laurels & Pelicans who understand the way of the bake and Their Royal Majesties, you will also be judged by the populace. Beads will be dispensed into cups and win or lose, you get to keep the beads! The winner of the populace competition will receive a prize and the newly anointed Royal Baker will also receive a prize to go with their new job…er… title. If that happens to be the same person, well done!

The Documentation Format

Since this competition is an A&S competition you have to show us your sources, explain your choices, an all of that other good stuff. Filling out the EZDoc for a quick overview is great! However, the more effort you put into explaining the where, the when, and the how will definitely net you a higher score. This is ultimately NOT a judgement of your writing skills but your baking prowess. However, we need to know how your persona acquired the ingredients you’re baking with and what methods you used to produce your bakes.

Example: If you’re not really into writing, you can print out a list(s) of documents, images, and anything else you used. You can print out pictures! You may even make a binder and present your research that way and speak to it! However, you must give credit where credit is due so, please ethically document your work. (Plagiarism will lead to disqualification.)  Give our Laurels & Pelicans something to look at/listen to while they nosh and dosh. If digital is your thing, then present it on a laptop or tablet. The choice is yours.


Do I need to be an experienced baker in the SCA or otherwise to enter?

No, if it’s your first time in the kitchen, go for it! However, if you receive assistance either with research, technique, and other aspects then you must be transparent and note it in your documentation. Plagiarism and a lack of transparency will get you disqualified, and no one wants to see that.

Must I build a brick oven and bake over a fire because that’s how they did it back then?

No, however, the more period methods you use to produce your bake, the better your score is likely to be. If you are competing and have trouble standing, or perhaps cannot chop things that need chopping and so on, please use modern tools. Explain your reasoning, no uncomfortable questions will be asked, and you will not be penalized for doing so. This is a competition for everyone, not just the able-bodied. (What 15c baker wouldn’t have died for a Kitchen Aide mixer, am I right?)

Must I make everything from scratch?

That is up to you, however, the more that you produce on your own, the more points you’re likely to score. (Laurels & Pelicans like that sort of thing!)

Must I list all of the ingredients used and how much?

Absolutely. Yes. If you bring an entry that does not list everything that you have used in it including quantities, you will not be able to enter. There will be no compromises on this point.

How much outside help can I receive?

This isn’t a group project so you should be doing most of the heavy lifting yourself. However, if you need help to get the job done, ask for it. If you do so, mention it in your documentation. Everyone should receive credit for their work, even if they aren’t the competitor.

Where should I focus the bulk of my energy?

You should spend it in the kitchen. Test your recipes by feeding the people around you. Treat your family and friends to a taste of what you plan to enter! Get their feedback from them about what works and what doesn’t! You get usable information and they get food!

Do I have to stand by my entry all day?

Well, you can grab a chair but yes, you should be prepared to spend the bulk of your time at KASF talking to the populace about what you made and how you made it. The role of the Royal Baker is that of an educator and cheerleader. So if you want the glory, be prepared to start the job at KASF. Be ready to answer questions and not just when the judges show up. You never know who you can inspire to get in the kitchen and try. The impact you can make with a simple conversation is incredible. Maybe even have a solid idea of what you want to do with the title once you snag it! We will be located in the main hall so everyone will be able to see you and your bakes!

Any additional questions can be submitted to: covel . Jennifer at gmail dot com. I work a full-time job and have family obligations, but I promise to respond a quickly and completely as I can. If you need to email me, the subject line should read ROYAL BAKER COMPETITION so I can search my spam folder for any errant emails.

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