It’s the way it works in small country towns. Events are often driven by an individual (and usually supported by their partners). Schools have a dynamic teacher who sets up a school choir/music/drama group, and a couple of years later, when they move on, the initiative dissapears. Some towns are lucky to keep their agents provocatuer but even they need time to recharge along the way. The individual behind the Bungendore Camp-oven Cookoff is Vince Skeehan, and he shows no sign of stopping after eight years.
Vince is a native born American, but he’s called Bungendore home for long enough for his kids to grow up (and enter the Cookoff). Vince and his wife Karen, are involved with a number of local groups but the big event in Vince’s year is the Cookoff. I was invited to help judge the entries last year and it was chaos, the video I took then captures a bit of fun but when the food comes out, the coverage stopped. Well, I was invited back again this year (with Jim Webster and Grant Brown) and again, taking some video until it all gets as far as the eating, and there it breaks. I’ll have that edited and online soon..
The food was more interesting this year than last, (think venison fillet with black cherry sauce, whole spit roast kangaroo – quite a lot of roo dishes actually) and there were more locals involved (last year there were a few out of town ‘grey nomads’ showing off their traveling cooking skills. As usual all the prizes were donated by local business, with the grand prize being a new chain saw. Now that’s a country town!
There were fewer catchy names for the entries this year, but I’m sure you’ll like this one suggested by Dan Skeehan’s (son of Vince and Karen) – one of his dishes was called “Lamb Shank Redemption”.
See the winning recipes here, in our Kitchen section.
Here’s how Vince tells the event’s story in our ‘champion of the people’ local newspaper, the Bungendore Mirror.
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