Competitive cooking isn’t limited to Iron Chef. Across America, amateur chefs cross spatulas at more than a thousand competitions covering numerous states and a pantry full of ingredients. Following a small group of contestants for a year on the contest circuit, journalist Amy Sutherland introduces us to well-known cookoff luminaries as well as some of the most bizarre cooks and recipes at local and national contests across the country—from the Great Garlic Cookoff to the National Chicken and National Beef Cookoffs, from the World Champion Jambalaya Cooking Contest to the Pillsbury Bake-Off®, the Holy Grail of competitive cooking. When the fanatics gather—be they chiliheads or barbecue fiends—and hunker down at the hot plate, it can be a recipe for delight or disaster as attitudes get spicy and tempers flare. Bursting with humor, Cookoff is an entertaining and in-depth look at a quirky, cutthroat, and (sometimes) delicious world.