If you want to see prime livestock, blue ribbon produce and the latest gadgets and gizmos, head for the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo this week.
Stop off at the wine garden and you will also find it's the place to pick up culinary tips and watch several of the region's premier chefs in action.
It's free with fair admission.
Eight members of the Northwest Wine Country Chapter of the American Culinary Federation have been participating in an Iron Chef-type contest each day since the fair opened on Tuesday.
They are Mike Riley, from Courtyard by Marriott; Jason La Barge; Marcus Todd, sous chef at Veritas in Kennewick; Mark Schwegel of Bonefish Grill in Richland; Brian Von Eggers of Wildhorse Resort & Casino in Pendleton; Mike McGee of McDougall Bay Steakhouse in Richland and Jay Entrikin and Dan Theissen, both part of the culinary program at Walla Walla Community College.
Schwegel and La Barge will be competing from 6 to 7:30 p.m. tonight in the wine garden. On Saturday, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., the chefs who received the highest number of points from the previous four competitions will go spatula to knife to determine who's the best.
"The cooking contests have been really popular," said Phyllis Fergusson, who is organizing the cooking competitions. "They're a good way to showcase our wonderful products and the talents of our local chefs."
How the cook-off works is each chef is given a box of ingredients, including a protein, vegetables and fruits from the farmer's market in the Agricultural Building. The kitchen is already stocked with basic supplies, flour, sugar, spices and condiments -- all the things you keep on hand at home, said Fergusson.
"Once they open the box each chef has 45 minutes to create an entree and two sides," she said.
There are four judges, two from the wine industry: Patrick Jaynes of Columbia Crest winery and Sabrina Greever, sales director for the Red Lion Hotel in Kennewick, and Sherry Knoll of Sysco Foods out of Spokane, and one, chosen at random from the audience. Only the judges are allowed to sample the foods.
Large, overhead mirrors ensure the audience can see the chefs at work.
While you're watching the chefs chop, saut and create, sip the latest vintages of Horse Heaven Round-up wines. This year's includes a 2009 Columbia Valley red blend was crafted by Fidelitas Wines. This is the fifth pair in the series and is available for sale by contacting the fair office, 586-9211, after Saturday.
The wine garden is open from noon to 10 p.m. today and Saturday.
"You do have to be 21 or older to sit in the wine garden and your ID must be on your person," said Sherry Gartside, wine garden supervisor.
"It's a great place to bring your food, enjoy a beverage and relax. It's quiet and very inviting, away from the middle of all the coming and going of the fair," she said. "And we have a mister so it's cool too."