Originally Posted by watertowerbbq
Let me clarify what I was trying to say. It is human nature to look at a poorly put together box and think that maybe it won't taste good. It's also human nature to look at a good box and assume that it will taste good. I get that. However, a judge should make every effort to taste the meat and judge taste and tenderness it on that alone and try to remove the appearance from the taste and tenderness. I've judged entries that looked great and tasted like crap and vice versa. I'm sure you have too.
The point I was making about the other judge was in response to the comment about "They didn't care about presentation, what else didn't they care about?" In that instance, she was injecting her own personal beliefs into the scorinig. I think assuming that the cook did something else poorly because the garnish looks bad is injecting your own rules into the system. Deduct from the appearance score if it is warranted, but try to start with a fresh mind on taste and tenderness.
Presentation does matter and sometimes the garnish doesn't look as good as it could. I'd also say what looks good to you as garnish, may not be to my liking. Maybe I think all garnish should look like putting greens and maybe you think differently. To some, big leafy lettuce might be appealing. To others, that may look sloppy.
I'm a cook first and sometimes when I'm judging, it's hard to look past the garnish and focus on the meat. However, I've gotten to the point where I remind myself every time before the box is opened to focus on the meat. I think it's helped me be more consistent with the appearance scores I write down.
Think of it this way, you should get the same or very nearly the same score for an entry as far as taste and tenderness are concerned whether you were blind folded or not.
See, I knew you would see it my way and agree with me... lol... Just kidding.... Ducking for cover....
In actually, I think we are both very close on this subject. Both of us can see where if a judge is not careful, the appearance can affect the other two scores. The simple fact that both you and I have had to remind ourselves that appearance should have no bearing on taste or tenderness proves this out.
It is for that reason that we all have posted photos of test boxes to see where things can be improved not only for the appearance, but also for the carryover with less careful judges.
(Oh, and for my money, the putting green looks much better.)