Cooking, Course

Atlantia A&S Criteria

An entry must consist of 4 dishes, each of which is documented along with the entirety as a set being documented. One of the dishes may be a beverage. If it is an alcoholic beverage brewed or fermented by the entrant, it CANNOT also be entered in Brewing (Alcoholic beverages may be entered in Brewing or Cooking, but not both). Entries with more than four dishes must specify which four are to be judged. Not only is each dish judged, but the combined effect of all. When dishes (documentation, discussion, etc.) differ markedly in quality, judges will average the results of the dishes (and explain in judge’s comments). The authenticity of a course is judged both with regard to each dish as well as documentation that all dishes are from the same time period, season of the year, and region (or would have been available in the region specified).

NOTE: More documentation is required for Cooking entries than other categories because the written information is used for judging, both in the Documentation and the Authenticity sections of the criteria. Recipes must be included and if not in modern English, should be translated to modern English. Each section has a heading which provides critical information for judging. The definition of a period source is material which was written in period or was written earlier than period, but can be documented as available in period. A source is period if it is accurately quoted (and the original reference is cited) in a secondary source. A source may be a recipe, journals describing foods eaten, letters, books on manners, etc. While sufficient information to support the points being made and provide the relevant historical and cultural background to the dish(es) is critical, concisely presented material indicates the entrant has understood the material well enough to avoid extraneous or tangential information.

Information also available as PDF.

DOCUMENTATION (0-30 points. SCORE 0-10 then MULTIPLY BY 3):

This section addresses the scholarly aspect of the documentation. Look for information on the historical origins of the dish and how the modern recipe may differ from the period recipe. This may include any information which helps demonstrate an understanding of period cooking philosophy, choice of herbs, selection of ingredients, garnishing techniques, manner of service, etc. You should be able to see what research the cook has done into how the dish would have been prepared and presented in period. Must have at least “EZ Doc” information, and an executive summary. The best documentation will cover what they did in period, what the creator did in the project, and why the difference (if any). It will also explain any conscious compromises made, and provide footnotes, illustrations, and references, as well as any original research or experimentation as it applies to the project. Give score based on the following:

  • A minimum of: what it is, where is it from, when is it from, and references;
  • Also include identification/description of each dish, along with time period and place/country of origin for each dish, as well as the recipe for dish. Include references/bibliography;
  • Ingredients/Materials and recipe (original and redacted) used in the project;
  • Techniques and tools used during the process, especially noting modifications made specifically to meet safety requirements;
  • Research (country, period of origin, typical characteristics, etc.) Sources should be (ideally) period primary sources, or (very good) primary sources quoted in secondary sources, or (OK) secondary sources Secondary sources may be used for supplementary information beyond the recipe or its ingredients (Ex:, symbolism of dish, effects on bodily humors, eating customs of the country, methods of service) 
  • Information on the differences and similarities between the original and redacted recipe;
  • A comparison between the original preparation and cooking techniques and the modern ones used. In other words, if the cook used chicken instead of pheasant and roasted it in the oven instead of on a spit over a fire, that information should be included.

AUTHENTICITY (0-20 points) [SCORE 0-10 and then DOUBLE THE SCORE]:

Determine how period the entry is considering the information supplied in documentation and discussion and/or on your own knowledge. For instance, scores of up to 3 may be given when there has been no documentation/discussion to support authenticity, but the judge recognizes the product as most probably authentic. There must be an original source(s) and redacted recipes, along with information on how/when the dishes would be served together, to score an 8 or greater in this section. The effects of special efforts to achieve authenticity of presentation (including the form of presentation, additional decoration, etc.) should be judged here. Special efforts in producing the dish (such as raising the meat, growing the herbs, etc.) are not judged here, but should be judged in complexity.

  • 0: Entry clearly modern;
  • 1: Modern dishes with most of the ingredients known in period;
  • 2: Modern dishes with all ingredients known in period;
  • 3: #2 plus dishes “feels period”;
  • 4: Dishes are period, but with modern ingredient substitution and rationale provided;
  • 5: Dishes are period, with period ingredient substitution and rationale given;
  • 6-7: #5 but special efforts in presentation, period embellishment and decoration;
  • 8: Dishes are authentic, dishes demonstrated to be logically consistent in time/place, any ingredient substitutions are period, preparation procedures approximate period procedures, but used modern equipment;
  • 9-10: Dishes are authentic, from the same time period, season of the year, and region; any ingredient substitutions are period, preparation procedures approximate period procedures and use period style equipment.

NOTE: Points should not be taken away for substitution of hard-to-find or expensive period ingredients, but selection of alternatives must show an understanding of period or period-like substitutes. Extra points may be given for a special effort to develop a period form of presentation, or duplicate period methods and ingredients.

COMPLEXITY (1-10 points):

Consider here only the difficulty of the preparation of the dish. Judge the attempt, not the actual workmanship. Appropriate criteria to be considered here are: number and difficulty of steps, time involved, special ingredient preparation, etc.:

  • 1: All dishes require little or no more than simple preparation techniques (boiling, mixing a few ingredients, etc.);
  • 2-3: One dish is complex, with the remainder requiring no more than simple preparation techniques (#1);
  • 4-5: Limited complexity: all dishes require combining a number of ingredients with each having a single assembly/cooking process;
  • 6-7: Moderate complexity: at least two dishes require more than one component which requires two or more different processes (Ex: pie shell and filling; grilled meat with a sauce), with the remainder meeting criteria #5;
  • 8-9: Highly complex: at least two dishes which require two different preparation components, both of which require very skilled cooking abilities, with the remainder of the dishes meeting criteria #5;
  • 10: #9 plus very difficult decoration, special ingredient preparation, etc.

NOTE: Extra points may be given for a special attempt to duplicate period methods and ingredients.

WORKMANSHIP (3-30 points. SCORE 1-10 then MULTIPLY BY 3):

Rank the quality of execution and success of the entry on a scale of 1-10 considering the following: Workmanship is the quality of the job and the finished product. It is judged on excellence alone. It should be possible for a set of fairly simple, very modern dishes, which are delicious and look and smell great to obtain ALL possible points in this category. If the dishes are ones containing tastes/textures you don’t care for, rate each dish against others of that type (is the veggie dish substantially less horrible than most veggie dishes). If one or more of the dishes are an attempt to recreate a period taste and that taste is documented by period sources, give credit for that attempt, even if it is not to your taste. Rate the dish on Appearance, Aroma, Flavor, Texture and Compatibility as follows.


Is the appearance attractive (makes you look forward to eating it) and it looks similar to what the documentation says it should look like? Does it look edible (not spoiled, totally dried out, etc.).

  • 0: None of the dishes look appealing;
  • 1: Only one of the dishes looks appealing;
  • 2: Some of the dishes look appealing;
  • 3: All of the dishes look appealing;
  • 4: Dishes look appealing and most of it is interesting;
  • 5: Looks good, dishes complement each other;
  • 6: From the looks of the dishes together, I’d attack head table to get to it.


Are the aromas appropriate to the dishes (vert sauce smells of herbs, etc.) and do they complement each other?

  • 0: Aroma from all the dishes offends the senses;
  • 1: Aroma from 1 or 2 of the dishes offends the senses;
  • 2: Aroma from all the dishes detracts (but does not offend);
  • 3: Aroma from only 1 or 2 of the dishes detracts (but does not offend);
  • 4: Nice or appropriate aroma for all dishes;
  • 5: Combinations of aromas are wonderful.


Are people likely to want to eat the whole thing? (Do not count off if the taste is one you do not like if that is the way it is supposed to taste. If you don’t like that type of food ask the other judges to rank it and use their score). Are the tastes pleasant or acceptable for the types of dishes being presented? Zero points should only be awarded if most (hungry) people were unwilling to take a second bite or the taste was totally different from what the recipe indicated it should be.

  • 0: Flavor completely offends the palate;
  • 1: Flavor from all the dishes offends the palate;
  • 2: Flavor from 2 or 3 of the dishes offends the palate;
  • 3: Flavor from 1 of the dishes offends the palate;
  • 4: All the dishes taste okay (passable);
  • 5: Some dishes taste okay, others taste pleasant (better than okay);
  • 6: All the dishes taste pleasant;
  • 7: Some dishes taste pleasant, others taste delicious (better than pleasant);
  • 8: All the dishes taste delicious;
  • 9: The combination of dishes enhances the flavor of some of the dishes;
  • 10: The combination of dishes enhances the flavor of all the dishes.


Is the texture appropriate to the dish (pie crust is somewhat flaky, etc.)? If extremely off (large lumps in the pie crust, etc. ), do not award the point.

  • 0: Texture not right for any of the dishes.
  • 1: Texture not right for 2 or more dishes.
  • 2: Texture not right for one dish.
  • 3: Texture appropriate for all dishes.
  • 4: Texture excellent for all dishes.


How well do the dishes go together and complement each other?

  • 0: The dishes have no connection to each other, in time period, location, seasonality, or social class;
  • 1: At least 2 of the dishes match each other in at least 2 of the categories;
  • 2: At least 2 of the dishes match each other in at least 3 of the categories or 3 of the dishes match in 2 categories;
  • 3: Either 2 of the dishes match each other in all of the categories, or all the dishes match in 2 categories;
  • 4: 3 of the dishes match in 3 of the categories;
  • 5: all of the dishes match in all of the categories.


Evaluate the work as a whole, rating the complete effect and appeal beyond the mere technical proficiency. Consider how you react to the entry (intuitive response) and other items not previously addressed.

NOTE: Extra points should be given for a special effort to display or present the dishes.