A decade after the release of the best-selling Australian Blue Ribbon Cookbook, its author Liz Harfull is on a nationwide search for a new batch of agricultural show cooks to share their prize-winning recipes.
The Adelaide Hills based author says there is another generation of show cooks' stories waiting to be uncovered.
Liz's first book, The Blue Ribbon Cookbook, published in 2009 focussed on SA cooks. It along with the national one published in 2014 are on the kitchen shelves of many passionate home cooks and have been reprinted several times.
"I get so many enquiries from people wanting copies of both books but there are also many shows who have given the books as prizes and used the books as a fundraiser that are saying they need a different book," Ms Harfull said.
She believes the timing is right for another cookbook with the resurgence in popularity of old fashioned cooking and making jams and preserves.
"During tough economic times people return to the traditional recipes because they are the most economical and simple to make," she said.
"A recipe doesn't have to require a pantry full of ingredients, it is possible to make a cake with one egg and 80 grams of butter."
The upcoming book - which will be published by Allen & Unwin in early 2026- will follow a similar format as the previous two with Ms Harfull profiling the life stories of the bakers and the shows they are representing, as well as an easy to follow recipe.
Ms Harfull says the book will also be a celebration of country shows which are a massive part of rural communities.
"COVID really showed the importance of shows, they have come back with a vengeance because people really missed them when they couldn't be held," she said.
She acknowledges many show cooks are modest about their success so hopes that show committees, particularly cookery convenors will get behind the project and nominate some of their enthusiastic entrants.
It will not be an easy task for Ms Harfull to find the successful mix of recipes and then test each of them, but she says the cooks profiled will reflect the diversity of classes at ag shows.
"Half of show cooks are children and and there are a lot more men and people from different professions competing so I want the book to reflect that, " she said.
"What I am looking for is a generosity of spirit, not only in their show cooking but willingness of them to share their real recipe with nothing left out and tips for getting it right.
"Not every fiercely competitive show cook is willing to share all of their recipes but they might part with one or two."
- To nominate a show cook contact firstname.lastname@example.org before February 29