What is the cost for tickets to the Southern Cast Iron Cook-Off?
Tickets are $15 each for adults.

Are there VIP tickets to the Southern Cast Iron Cook-Off?
Yes! VIP tickets are $65 each and include access to the VIP lounge on Saturday, November 2. The VIP lounge has indoor seating with private restrooms and an outdoor balcony with views of the main music stage and cook-off area. Food and three drink tickets are also included with each VIP ticket.

Do I have to purchase a ticket for each day?
Tickets are good for the entire weekend—including the grand finale concert with Craig Morgan!

Is this event 21 and up only?
The Southern Cast Iron Cook-Off is fun for the entire family, but you must be at least 21 to purchase and/or drink alcohol.

Are kids allowed?
Absolutely! Kids under 12 get in free. Please just let us know they are coming when you purchase tickets.

Will there be entertainment for kids?
There will be an indoor kid zone with a lounge area for parents/guardians to relax. All proceeds from the kid zone will benefit the United Way of Southwest Louisiana.

Will there be food and drinks available for purchase?
We wouldn’t let you go hungry! Food and beverage vendors will be stationed at the indoor expo and outdoor near the entertainment stage.

Will this event happen rain or shine?
Yes, the Southern Cast Iron Cook-Off is rain or shine. Click here to see what you can and cannot bring into the event.

Can I leave and re-enter the event?
Yes, but with so many things to see and do, you probably won’t want to!


Will there be arts and craft vendors?
Yes! Our expo will feature cast iron makers, vintage cast iron collectors, vendors, artisans, craftsmen, and a farmers’ market. Interested in participating? Please contact Megan McIllwain at

Will I be able to purchase cast-iron products?
As much as you can carry! The Southern Cast Iron Cook-Off will have cast-iron cookware and accessories from across the country.

What will be on the demo stage?
The demo stage will be running throughout the weekend inside the expo hall and host Southern Cast Iron editors, award-winning chefs, cast iron experts, and more.


Does entrance to the concert with Craig Morgan cost extra?
No way! Your ticket is valid all weekend for entrance into the cook-off area, indoor expo to visit vendors and watch cooking demonstrations, and for all musical entertainment.

Is there seating near the stage?
There will be standing room and a grassy area in front of the stage. One collapsible chair is permitted per person. Click here to see what you can and cannot bring into the event.

Are you accepting band submissions for this event? 
We have signed all of our acts for this year, but would be glad to accept acts for future consideration! Send your website link and contact information to Megan McIllwain at


When is the deadline for entering to compete in the cook-off?
There is no deadline, but slots are limited and filling up fast! Don’t miss your chance to be an inaugural winner of the Southern Cast Iron Cook-Off.

Do I have to cook in cast iron?
We couldn’t have it any other way at the Southern Cast Iron Cook-Off!

What type of cast-iron cookware can I use?
All cast iron is accepted, including enameled cast iron.

Is the cook-off timed?
Competitors can start as early as 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and just need to make sure their dish is present at their assigned judging time.

Will there be guest tastings?
The Southern Cast Iron Cook-Off is not a tasting event. Dishes should be prepared for the official Southern Cast Iron Cook-Off judges. If you have extra and want to share with the crowd, you will need to provide your own sampling cups and utensils.

Are my friends allowed to help me cook?
Each competition team can hold up to six (6) members. Just make sure registration is completed together!

What should I bring?
Each competitor should bring all supplies including ingredients, cooking equipment (cast iron, grills, etc.), fuel (propane, butane, etc.), chairs, trash bags, and anything else you need to wow the judges with your dish!

Is a tent provided?
Each team will be provided a 10’x10’ tent, one 6’ table, sign with team name, one (1) parking spot in the designated vendor area (additional public parking will be available), and access to water. If desired, tent upgrades and additional costs are listed on the registration form.

Is electricity and ice provided?
Electricity is available for an additional fee. Ice will be available for purchase on-site. If desired, add-ons and additional costs are listed on the registration form.

Can I decorate my tent?
Branded signs with team names will be provided and affixed to your tent, but there is a Spirit Award! Show it off, but please do not use nails to affix any decorations and remember to clean up once the cook-off ends.

Can I enter more than one dish in the cook-off? 
Show us what you got! There are options to enter additional dishes/categories on the registration form.

My dish could belong in more than one category. Can I enter the same recipe in multiple categories?
Pick the category you think fits your recipe best! One dish cannot be entered in more than one category.

How do I know my online registration was accepted?
You will receive an automatic receipt confirmation, and our team will be in touch soon with additional information.

Can professional chefs enter the cook-off?
Due to interest, the cook-off has expanded to include a professional division! Professional teams are subject to the same guidelines as the amateur division and can enter dishes into any of the four cook-off categories. One overall professional team will be named during the awards ceremony.

Can professional chefs enter the cook-off?
The cook-off is open to amateurs only. If you are paid for work relating to the dish you planned to compete with, you are not eligible. Not sure if you qualify? Reach out to Megan McIllwain at

Can I make my dish at home?
Where’s the fun in that? Prep work such as cutting and marinating can be completed in advance, but cooking must be done on-site in cast iron! Click here to see the Cook-Off Team Guidelines for more info.

What time can I start cooking my dish?
Competitors can begin cooking as early as 8 a.m. on Saturday.

Are there any special parking or unloading instructions for cook-off participants?
One (1) parking spot near the cook-off area will be provided per team. Additional public parking will also be available. Booth set-up is Friday, November 1 from 3:00–5:00 p.m. All large items must be moved in at this time.

Is there a hotel we should stay at in Lake Charles?
A number of local hotels are offering special rates for the Southern Cast Iron Cook-Off. Check them out here!

Is there anything for contestants to do after set up on Friday?
Join us at the Competitor and Sponsor Reception in the expo hall on site from 6:00–8:00 p.m. More information will be sent to registered teams.


Will I get to speak with the judges?
No. All judging for the Southern Cast Iron Cook-Off is done blind.

Who are the judges for the Southern Cast Iron Cook-Off?
There are three (3) judges for each category. They are members of the Southern Cast Iron and Taste of the South editorial teams, nationally recognized chefs, foodie influencers, and food-loving sponsors.

How much food should I prepare for judging?
Three judges will test your dish. Sampling plates will be provided by the festival.

When will I know to present my dish for judging?
Each competitor will be assigned a judging time and be provided with additional information before the cook-off.

What criteria will my dish be judged on?
Each dish will be judged on its execution, appearance, taste, and overall impression. A judging scale from 1-5, with 5 being “exceptional” and 1 being “very below average”, will be used.

Have a question not answered here? Shoot us a message, and we’ll get back to you.