This contest ended Sep 17, 2012.


World Food Championships! Winner


Linda BONWILL Recipe x2
Lightly Salted
Englewood, FL (pop. 679,151)
Member Since Apr 2012

World Food Championships 2012 Review!

'Joes' vs. 'Pros' at the World Food Championships!

Hi all!

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!!

Kitchen Crew

View Photo Gallery

And the winners are...

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!

Barbecue Category:

Sherri Logan Williams* - Crestview, FL
Smokin' Baby Got Back Ribs

Greg Appel - Sunderland, MD
Spicy Chi Chi Ribs

Penelope Malcolm* - Americus, GA
Southern Peach, Vidalia Onion & Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Susan Simons* - Roy, WA

Jason Summers - Greenfield, MO
Smoked Brisket

Burgers Category:

Donna Bardocz* - Howell, MI
Pimento Cheese Sliders

Jamie Brown-Miller - Napa, CA
Bacon Brie Burgers with Caesar on Brioche

Veronica Callaghan* - Glastonbury, CT
Tinga Hamburguesas with Cotija-lime Slaw

Lindsey Cook* - Dallas, TX
Biscuits and Gravy Burger

Leah Stacey* - Montgomery, AL
Thai Smile Burger

Chili Category:

"Big" Bill Wentz* - Virginia Beach, VA
Win or Lose Chili

Melissa Baldan* - San Diego, CA
(H)Eat it up Chili

Geoffry LeCher - Wheeling, WV
Pork and Green Chili Posole

Debbie Reid* - Clearwater, FL
Spicy Southwestern Black Bean Chili

Sena Wilson* - Jackson, TX
My Texas Chili

Sandwiches Category:

Lori McLain* - Denton, TX
Sticky Chicken Naan Sandwich

Carmell Childs - Provo, UT
Spicy Salmon Sandwich with Ginger-Peperoncini Aioli

Linda Dalton* - Stoughton, MA
Panko Coated Falafel and Greek Salad Pitas

Jane McMillan* - Massena, NY
Brie, Pear and Apricot Sammie with Thai Dipping Sauce

Kelly Williams - Forked River, NJ
Buffalo Wing Garlic-Toasted Hoagies

Side Dishes Category:

Linda Bonwill* - Englewood, FL
Cobb Potato Salad

Marsha Gardner - Florala, AL
Spanish Beans

Merry Graham* - Newhall, CA
Cherry Sesame Noodles with Lemon-Hoison Sauce

Jackie Mento* - The Villages, FL
Cornbread Puddle Cakes w/ Savory Gingersnap Gravy

Debbie Wright* - Sulphur, LA
Grits and Greens Casserole

*Competing in Vegas

Grand Prize Winners each receive:

  • 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!


Colleen Sowa colleenlucky7
Oct 8, 2012
Congratulations to all the winners! So happy and proud of you all! xoxo
Melissa Sperka MelissasSouthernStyleKitchen
Oct 8, 2012
Congrats everyone!! Go get 'em!
Sherri Williams logansw
Oct 8, 2012
It's such an honor to have won in the BBQ category! I'm super duper excited about meeting alot of my foodies friends who will be in Vegas. We are going to have a blast. This will be the ultimate food trip of trips. Congratulations to everyone. sw☺
peggy Calhoun peggycalhoun
Oct 8, 2012
Congratulations to all the talented guys and girls for you incredible recipes!!! Good luck to all the competitors....Go break some legs
Didi Dalaba didicoffeegirl
Oct 8, 2012
Congratulations guys and gals!!! Show the "pro's" what your made of!!!
Good luck to everyone!!
Wendy Rusch snooksk9
Oct 8, 2012
Congratulations to EVERYONE!!! You all will rock the house down!!! I just know it!!! Have a blast!!! Can't wait to see the results and hear all about it!!! :o)
Linda Dalton Stripey
Oct 8, 2012
Congrats all, can't wait to meet everyone!
Kim Biegacki pistachyoo
Oct 8, 2012
Wow, wow and WOW....congrat's to everyone and I hope you all do well and bring back some "BIG" prizes!!!!! So excited for you all!
susan simons imbossmare
Oct 8, 2012
I'm so thrilled to be going to Vegas and can't wait to meet everyone. Vegas will never be the same after all of us.
Linda Dalton Stripey
Oct 8, 2012
Susan, can't wait to meet you, this is all so exciting!! I've been trying to correspond with the JAP group who're going to Vegas (Reply all option)and my emails keep coming back as "failure". If you get an email from me, let me know, cause I know some people are receiving them and some aren't. Thanks, and I'll be at Bally's. Where are you staying?
Kathy Sterling Kster2033
Oct 8, 2012
What a great opportunity and honor. Congratulations to all of you, go show the pro's how to cook! We will be waiting to hear the good news. Have fun.
susan simons imbossmare
Oct 8, 2012
Linda I did recieve your email I sent one reply all but you must not have gotten it,When it comes to computers I'm still in the dark ages. My hubby and I are staying at the Paris next door to Bally's. I keep thinking someone is gonna pinch me and I'm going to wake up.Lol.
Aileen Coles blufysh
Oct 8, 2012
Congrats to ya'll! I'll enter & win next time... too busy this year... :)
Melissa Baldan mellymel74
Oct 9, 2012
Such an honor to represent! Can't wait to see everyone!
Gerrie Deloatche gerried
Oct 9, 2012
It is my intent to try everyone of these recipes...and then I'll go on a diet...LOL! Congratulations to each of you and the best in Vegas!