The Columbus Smoke Experiment

Shelley Mann, Columbus Alive

Calling all competitive cooks! The Food Experiments, a national amateur cook-off series, arrives in Columbus Sunday, July 15, with a stop at Skully's Music Diner and is looking for contestants.

The Food Experiments series was created in 2009 by Nick Suarez and Theo Peck to challenge amateur chefs, first in NYC and then expanding with national tours. Here's how it works -- at each stop, about 25 local amateur chefs compete with dishes around "experimental" food themes -- like, say, beer, cheese, chocolate or booze. For this Columbus stop, the theme is smoke. (Think barbecue brisket, pastrami, andouille sausage, and fall-off-the-bone ribs).

Dishes will be assessed by a panel of celebrity judges, including yours truly as well as regular Crave contributors G.A. Benton, Jim Ellison and Bethia Woolf, among others. Prizes look pretty sweet, including cookware, bakeware and cash from sponsors Brooklyn Brewery, Le Creuset, Anolon, Microplane and Wusthof knives. After a 16-city tour, winning cooks will compete for top honors at the national champtionships Dec. 16 in Brooklyn.

If you're up for the challenge of smoking some meat, here's where you can sign up. If you'd like to watch on Sunday and sample the smoky creations, $10 tickets include a Brooklyn Brewery pint, and can be purchased here.

The Columbus Smoke Experiment

1-4 p.m. Sunday, July 15

Skully's Music Diner

1151 N. High St., Short North