Being a baker, I created my dessert recipe from scratch, completely original! My appetizer was my brainchild with inspiration from one I saw but disliked the combination of ingredients and my main dish is one of Dave's favorite recipes. Dave also created a cocktail for me to serve the judges first. It noted in the rules we could do that if we wanted to but no extra credit would be given. Can't hurt! I will share my actual dishes next week and let you know what happened.
I've entered and won a number of contests including first place at the Mandarin Festival last year and also a cupcake and cookie contest. Entering contests not only pushes you in the area of originality but presentation, too. You have to do something that is not the norm, if you come up with your idea too easily, it's not original. You need to think of not only what tastes good, but how to layer flavors, choose ingredients that compliment each other and have a variety of textures. There's more to it than meets the eye, so give it a try. It's a great experience and when you start winning, people will want to know who you are and where they can buy your goodies!