SIDNEY — Scratch that off the bucket list.
Winning the Sidney Daily News Harvest Holiday Cookbook Cook-off had been on Melissa Bowers’s bucket list — something she hoped to achieve sometime in her life.
Now she’s done it. The Sidney resident took top honors and the Clancy’s-sponsored $300 grand prize in the cooking contest for the 32nd annual cookbook. A past category winner, Bowers won this year’s competition with Quick Tomato Soup with Toasted Pasta.
“She understands food. She understands how to manipulate complexities that an ingredient can bring to you,” said Gary Strasser, manager of Clancy’s and a contest judge, in presenting the cash award.
His fellow grand judges were Damian Bumgarner, executive chef of the soon-to-open Smiths’ Boathouse Restaurant in Troy, and Mojalefa “Jale” Jacob Moremi, culinary director of Lane Park of Sidney.
They, along with category sponsors, evaluated recipes prepared by 24 semi-finalists in six categories and presented during the cook-off, Saturday, Oct. 15, in the Crossroads in Hardin.
Michelle Mumford joined the grand judges to select Bowers’s Quick Tomato Soup with Toasted Pasta as the winner of the $50 Sidney and Troy CarStar Soups, Stews and Chili category.
Mumford also served as guest judge of the Party Pleaser’s category for which Sidney Daily News General Manager Natalie Buzzard presented the Wilson Health-sponsored $50 prize to Shelly Pleiman, of Fort Loramie, for Beer-Battered Coconut Shrimp with Dipping Sauce.
Connie Murphy, of Freshway Foods, presented her company’s $50 prize in the Mom and Pop’s Best category to Sally Ann Jones, of Casstown, for Aunt Mona’s Spaghetti.
Murphy also served as guest judge of the Main Dishes category, for which Buzzard presented the Flint’s TV & Appliance-sponsored $50 prize to Ann Barhorst, of Anna, for Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas.
Rachel Hale represented Dorothy Love Retirement Community to award its $50 prize in the On the Side category to Nicole Schaffer, of Celina, for Lovin’ Onions.
Hale also served as guest judge of the Desserts category. Strasser presented the $50 Clancy’s-sponsored prize to Deborah A. Moorman, of Sidney, for Do Nothing Cake.
Throughout the day, newly published cookbooks from national publishers and gift certificates donated by local businesses were given as door prizes. Following the judging, the attendees enjoyed sampling all the food and each left with a gift bag of contributed items.
The 2016 Harvest Holiday Cookbook will be distributed in the Sidney Daily News issue of Nov. 19. It will be available for single-copy sale after that date. Advance orders for additional copies can be made by phone at 538-4826. Single copies picked up in the newspaper offices at 1451 N. Vandemark Road cost $1.25 each. Copies to be delivered by mail cost $5 each. Order blanks appear in the newspaper daily.
The following businesses and organizations provided cook-off door prizes and gift bag items: Adams Funeral Home, Airstream, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Area Agency on Aging PSA 2, Auglaize, Logan, Shelby & Mercer County Farm Bureau, Aunt Millie’s Bakeries, Balboa Press, Bloomsbury, Bob Evans, Catholic Social Services, Christian Academy Schools, Cool Springs Press, Cromes Funeral Home, Culver’s, Dairy Queen, Dannon, Edison State Community College, Emerson Climate Technologies, Fair Winds Press, Farmer’s Pantry, Frisch’s Big Boy, Gateway Arts Council, Gehret Funeral Home, Hay House, Historic Sidney Theatre, Honda, Julie L. Brown, Lane Park of Sidney, Marco’s Pizza, Midwest Electric, Minster Bank, Molly’s Suds, Mutual Federal Savings Bank, NKTelco, Ohio Beef Council, Ohio Pork Council, Ohio Poultry Association, Oxmoor House, Pioneer Electric Cooperative, PNC Bank, Quarry Press, Quarto Publishing Group, Race Point Publishing, Ryland Peters & Small, Ryland Peters & Small/Dog ‘n’ Bone, Scott Family McDonald’s, Shelby County Animal Rescue Foundation, Shelby County Historical Society, Sidney Daily News, Sidney-Shelby County YMCA, Siloam, Skyhorse Publishing, St. Martin’s Griffin, St. Martin’s Press, The Tauton Press, Touchstone, Ulysses Press, Vinson Books, Voyageur Press, Wendy’s, www.BakingSomething.com andYankee Publishing Inc.
Assisting with the event were Daily News editorial staff Melanie Speicher, editor; Patricia Ann Speelman, localife editor and contest coordinator; Alexandra Newman, reporter; Sheryl Roadcap, reporter; and Luke Gronneberg, chief photographer; Daily News advertising representative Carol Ann Pierce; Daily News circulation receptionist Wesley Stratton; and Buzzard.
Also assisting was volunteer Russ Pierce.
Reach the writer at 538-4824.