In a way, chefs are competing every night.

A pro chef manipulates dozens of variables-including a limited supply of ingredients, an unknown number of customers ordering an unknown number and type of dishes, a given number of tables to be turned an optimum number of times during a single evening-with the prize of ending up in the black with a reputation for good food and service. Oh, and somehow accounting for the current mysterious public perception of hip.

At any rate, chefs seem to thrive on this kind of pressure and tend to be highly competitive people. Add the American public's obsession with food to this willingness to fight and it's no wonder that chef competitions have become such a popular spectator sport.

This weekend, Park Silly Sunday Market's chef competition pits Chef Michael LeClerc, Executive Chef and Owner of 350 Main Brasserie here against Chef Seth Adams, Executive Chef at Riverhorse on Main. And although we keep hearing about how Park City's Main Street restaurant scene is fading, this competition is a reminder that there is still plenty of culinary starpower here.

I can't wait to see what they cook up.

Yes, I'm one of the judges and I have to say this is one of the best parts of my much-envied, little-understood job. The down side is obvious: there are more bad restaurants than good restaurants out there and I have to eat at all of them.

But cooking competitions feature the best and the brightest chefs, and encourages them to work at the height of their culinary ability and imagination. For onee, they don't have to worry about pleasing the public's palate at a price that pumps up the bottom line. They just have to cook the best, most inventive, most exciting, beautiful and satisfying food possible, The goal is to thrill the palate of just  two ro three people.

One of them being me! Come join the fun at Park Silly Sunday Market this weekend. We'll be on the Main Stage on lower Main Street. starting at 1.