Cooking Contest Experiences:  You win some, you lose some!

Words to live by!  I started entering cooking/recipe contests in 2010.  I've created and entered many, many recipes in contests over the past few years.  I don't know the totals, but the contests I've entered and won are a really small number when compared to the massive number of recipes entered that did not make the cut.  I've learned that sometimes the ones you expect to win do not and the ones you don't expect to win, do!  In this hobby, as in life, you have to roll past the disappointments and just keep creating, because if you do, you'll hit on a win eventually and when you do - enjoy the moment!  

April, 2010 44th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest

Orlando, FL - Finalist

Prize: Trip to the Bake-Off Contest in Florida, Cash & GE Microwave

Recipe: Savory & Sweet Breakfast Biscuit Sliders

This was my first ever cooking contest!  What a great one to start off with!  Was such an honor to be chosen to be a finalist.  Meeting lots of new cooking friends was amazing!  



August, 2010 Beringer Great Steak Challenge, Regional Contest

Washington, DC - Regional Finalist

Prize: cash (minus travel fees)

Recipe: Tour of the Mediterranean Spice Rubbed & Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks with Greek Yogurt Garlic Sauce

This was a fun contest - despite a really torrential rain storm that threatened to shut down our grills.  The 30 minute time limit was tough and I had a hard time getting my steaks done.  The Dean brothers kept wanting to open my grill to peek.  Had to shoo them away! Funny!

September, 2010 Kennett Square Mushroom Soup Cook-Off

Kennett Square, PA 25th Annual Mushroom Festival - First Place Winner

Prize: cash

Recipe: "Stuffed Mushroom" Soup Florentine

I'll always remember this contest as it was my first, 1st place!  What a thrill!

October, 2010 California Olive Committee Ultimate Olive Recipe Contest, Honorable Mention

Prize, having my recipe printed in their cookbook ( :

Recipe: Oven Baked Minestrone


November, 2010 California Olive Committee Pizza Pa Looza Contest

First Place

Prize: Emile Henry Pizza Stone & a case of California Olives ( :

Recipe: Mediterranean Marketplace Grilled Pizza

Everyone received cans of olives in their Christmas stockings that year - and I still have more in my pantry!  I love to drain the olives and roast them in the oven with olive oil, garlic and herbs - YUM!


December, 2010 Dole/Wegmans All American Recipe Contest

Grand Prize

Prize: Gift card to Wegmans

Recipe: Tropical Breeze Banana Bread Panini with Pineapple Ginger Cream Cheese

Loved grocery shopping for free with that great prize!



Tropical Breeze Banana Bread Panini with Pineapple Ginger Cream Cheese

January, 2011 Manischewitz Cook Off 

Voting Round Finalist

Recipe: Simple & Elegant Beef Wellington Pot Pies

This was my first and probably last experience with a contest where you need to solicit votes.  Not my cup of tea - hate to ask anyone for anything.  Will keep trying to make it to this contest without being in the voting round ( :


July & August, 2011 Better Recipes Grill-Off Burger Week 

First Place & Overall Grand Prize

Prize: gift card

Recipe:  La Taverna Tapas Burger


September, 2011  Kennett Square Mushroom Soup Cook-Off

Kennett Square, PA 26th Annual Mushroom Festival – Finalist

Recipe: Mushroom & Swiss Burger Bliss Soup

Another fun Mushroom Soup Cook Off!  Did not place this time, but had a great time meeting up with cooking friends and getting to meet Iron Chef Jose Garces, who was a judge.


January, 2012 Better Recipes Peppermint Week Recipe Contest 

First Place

Prize: gift card

Recipe: Peppermint Ganache Thumbprint Cookies

Love the Better Recipes contests!  Easy to enter and there is practically a new contest each week!

Better Recipes Peppermint Week Winner:

Peppermint Ganache Thumbprint Cookies

March, 2012  45th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest

Orlando, FL – Sweet Treats Winner & Grand Prize

Prize: cash & GE Appliances

I will be posting a blog in the near future with all the juicy details from this crazy good & surreal event!!  For now, here is a link to the recipe and a short video from the big HOLY RAVIOLI moment on The Martha Stewart Show.  Stay tuned!! ( :

September, 2012  Kennett Square Mushroom Soup Cook-off

Kennett Square, PA  27th Annual Kennett Square Mushroom Festival – First Place Winner!

Prize: cash

Recipe: Shiitake, Ginger & Pork Pot Sticker Soup

Had a blast at the cook off!  Got to meet some great new people including Chef Antonia Lofaso and food writer, Iris McCarthy!

October, 2012 Better Recipes Mexican Week Recipe Contest

First Place

Prize: gift card

Recipe: Warm Butternut Squash and Black Bean Salsa

Warm Butternut Squash and Blackbean Salsa

November, 2012 World Food Championships

Las Vegas

Top Ten in First Round

Prize: cash

This was a cooking contest experience like none other!  It was a cross between: Survivor, The Amazing Race and Top Chef!  It was the first year for this event and the details were all over the place!  If not for a last minute dash in the rental car to Target to buy a toaster oven, I never would have been able to finish my recipe.  The oven supplied (see photo) never went above 200 degrees!  We had to bring all our cooking equipment & our luggage or shop when we got there.  Through all the craziness, we laughed a lot!!  What else could you do!?  The best part of the experience was meeting new cooking friends and having the opportunity to cook outdoor with friends on Vegas Strip across the street from the Bellagio Fountains!  

Food Network, America's Best Cook


Can't wait for the next adventure!! ( :