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
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
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
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
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!
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
Prize: gift card
Recipe: Warm Butternut Squash and Black Bean Salsa
Warm Butternut Squash and Blackbean Salsa
November, 2012 World Food Championships
Top Ten in First Round
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 & ingredients…in 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