'Joes' vs. 'Pros' at the World Food Championships!
I’m Annakate, and I’m a member of the Just A Pinch Kitchen Crew. The adrenaline is still high after our time in Las Vegas for the World Food Championships! We had the distinct pleasure of hosting 17 Just A Pinch members who had won a slot to compete! This was QUITE an honor, as our group was the only set of non-professional competitors at the event! Our folks went head to head against hundreds of restaurateurs, chefs and professional competitors. The weekend was a blur of chopping, sautéing, baking and zooming around…and we had a blast!
We kicked off the weekend with a team meet-up so everyone could get to know one another. Just A Pinch is a wonderful place for folks to connect online, and it turns out it’s just as wonderful meeting each other in person. Our group boasted members from across the country, and there was frequent joking about suitcase contents: pots, pans, spatulas, blenders, spices, sauces and more. A genuine spirit of camaraderie was present within the group right from that first meeting.
The following day marked the beginning of competition. Our crew did a group grocery shop that felt just like Supermarket Sweep, everyone hurrying off to get the items they needed! Then it was back to “Kitchen Alley” on the grounds of Bally’s Resort for some serious cooking.
I was so impressed by how all of the Just A Pinch competitors rose to the occasion! Cooking in a 10x10 booth with nothing but an oven and propane burners can be challenging, to say the least, but our home cooks were all champions! Each cook was given three hours to prepare their winning dish (below), one presentation sample and five tasting samples for the panelof judges. Talk about excitement! It was down to the wire for everyone and the Kitchen Crew was thrilled to be in the thick of it to lend a hand.
Hosting the event was Adam Richman, star of Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food” and “Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America.” He took special time to meet up with the ‘Pinchers and shared encouraging words before the finalists were announced. Turns out, he has a very soft spot in his heart for home cooks, having learned a ton from his own mother whose recipes and cooking methods he felt could stand up against any professional chef. It was so touching and so sincere. Color us charmed.
As the first round of competition came to a close, we all gathered in front of a large stage right on the Las Vegas strip, to hear the names of the lucky Finalists. Before I knew what was happening, we were dancing in the streets, cheering and crying, laughing and hugging… Just A Pinch had THREE Finalists: Linda Bonwill, Jackie Mento and Lori McClain, each winning $1,000! It was joyous chaos.
These talented gals each then prepared and presented a second dish featuring one of the sponsor ingredients. The food was so fantastic… and, in fact, it was announced that Linda Bonwill WON the Side Dish Category!!! The excitement was overwhelming. Linda won $10K and the honor of having the Best Side Dish in the WORLD!
If that wasn’t exciting enough, the next day Linda qualified to compete at the Final Table, the ultimate honor. Not only was she the only home cook, but also the only woman to qualify! Beating out TWO of the pros to take 5th place!! (Note: She actually got 4th place but celebrity judge Robin Leach changed his vote at the last second which sent the crowd into a frenzy, and chants of “Just A Pinch” erupted!)
All in all, it was a wonderful and exciting time at the first-ever World Food Championships in Las Vegas! It was touching to see the camaraderie and supportive spirit that pervaded each of the events. On behalf of the entire Kitchen Crew, we feel so thankful to be part of such a wonderful group of people. Three cheers for our home cooks!!
These home cooks have won a chance to cook with the pros at the 2012 World Food Championships in Las Vegas, NV. It's the "Joes v. Pros," and these talented guys and gals may walk away from Vegas with some serious bragging rights... and prize money!
We're proud to be teaming up with the WFC folks to offer these lucky Just A Pinch members the EXCLUSIVE opportunity to compete in this invite-only event... hosted by Adam Richman, star of Travel Channel's "Man v. Food" and "Adam Richman's Best Sandwich in America."
Leave a comment below to wish the competitors well and subscribe to all the latest updates from the Finals in Vegas!
Invitation to prepare and and compete with their winning recipe November 1-4 at the 2012 World Food Championships (WFC) in Las Vegas, NV... where prize money of up to $50,000 is up for grabs!
Waiver of all WFC entrance fees
$1,000 Voucher towards travel expenses
Honorary Kitchen Crew status (Boo yah!)
★ Runners-Up each receive:
Invitation to prepare and and compete with their winning recipe at the 2012 World Food Championships (WFC) in Las Vegas, NV... where prize money of up to $50,000 is up for grabs!
Honorary Kitchen Crew status
(Runners-Up responsible for own travel & competition expenses.)
Congratulations to all you fab cooks out there! We were inundated with bushels of delicious entries in the Just A Pinch World Food Championship contest, and it's clear that ALL of you have got some serious cooking chops!
We're thrilled to announce these 25 lucky entrants whose recipes won them their very own exclusive invitation from Just A Pinch to compete at the 2012 World Food Championships in Las Vegas! These kitchen "Joe's" have earned the opportunity to battle the country's best cooking pros in what is sure to be a heckuva foodie face-off!
Feeling like a winner yourself? ENTER TO WIN some tasty prizes of your own!