May the best man win at Redcliffe Show

May the best man win

A prize-winning jar of chutney or lemon butter is all that stands between this group of lively cooks, the coveted green vase and bragging rights for the next 12 months.

They call themselves The Pouch Group and they’ve been waging a battle of the preserves at the Redcliffe Show for the past 12 years.

The group is comprised of Mark Chappell, Sean Campbell, Peter Bolton, Ash Crandell, Rod Ellick and Wayne Parmiter, with guest appearances by well-known Australian actor and Redcliffe boy William McInnes when he’s in town.

It all started when Ash entered his first jar in the Redcliffe Show cookery competition in 2009 and ramped up when the rest did the same the following year.

They haven’t missed a show since, relishing spirited competition and banter and the chance to be the group’s champion for the year.

“It’s based on the fact that most of us are born and bred in Redcliffe and went to the show as young tikes. We noticed the entries of cookery was diminishing (at that time) and we wanted to keep a that bit of Redcliffe Show alive,” Peter explains.

So, how competitive are they?

“It’s the new frontline. By the beginning of or mid-May, the trash talks starts. It becomes competitive and, at times, hurtful. With some of the comments made, I know I was deeply hurt,” Peter says with his tongue firmly in his cheek.

The bloke with the highest level of achievement is given the honour of choosing the following year’s second preserve to be entered alongside chutney, which is the only constant. They often enter jam, but this year’s preserve is lemon butter.

The champion is also the keeper of the ‘green vase’, which was given to them in 2014 by the Redcliffe Show Society, for 12 months.

Wayne is the reigning champion and has chosen lemon butter this year. The others say while he claims his is the best, they consider it a bit grainy.

Sean has won the most high-level prizes, sparking lively claims he’s sweet talked the judges and William’s success over the years also draws an outcry from the group saying his position as show patron gives him an unfair advantage.

William grew up on the Redcliffe peninsula and went to school with Peter. He tries to make it back for the show when he can.

In William’s defence, his entries always bear the names of aliases – including former Prime Ministers and old school teachers.

So, would the group encourage other men/boys to enter the Redcliffe Show cookery competition?

|“This is a bonding thing. It’s a great way of mates getting together and being competitive in a really fun, light-hearted manner,” Peter says.|

“It’s good for everyone’s mental health, we enjoy the trash talk. It started as joke and has been going for 12 years. It’s an integral part of The Pouch Group.”

And what is the secret to prize-winning chutney?

Laughing, they say: No mould, using good produce, sticking to the rules and adding a doily for effect.

After the show, they get together for the third State of Origin game with preserves in hand for a night of footy, curry, beverages and banter. It’s the perfect finale.

About Redcliffe Show cookery competitions

The cookery section offers 99 classes in various aspects of cooking in a bid to discover the best cooks in the district.

Entries for classes 1-9 (iced and decorated cakes) need to be dropped off at the cookery hall on June 21 between 4-7pm or no later than 9am on June 22.

All other entries need to be delivered to the hall on June 23 between 7-9am prior to judging on that day.

For details about classes and how to enter, visit the website.

To see entries at this year’s show, visit the Mrytle Webb Hall (beside the honey pavilion).

Cooking demonstrations at the show

Expert cooks Brenden Clem, Gloria Johnson and Pam Stanley will share some of what they know at this year’s Redcliffe Show.

Pam will be there on Friday, Gloria on Saturday and Brenden on Sunday. Their demonstrations will give an insight into cake decorating and sugar art. It’s your chance to learn from the experts.

The Redcliffe Show is on June 24, 25 and 26. For more information, visit the website

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