STEUBENVILLE - Two new judges will be taste-testing the 10 top recipes in each of the five categories for the 2012 Holiday Cookbook Contest for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.
Rikki Kamarados and Dragana Lazic will be part of the event to be held Nov. 8 at St. Florian Hall in Wintersville.
The two seasoned judges are Linda Chivers and Todd Piergallini, with Cindy Houk as the reigning 2011 grand champion cook with her Pear Almond Tart.
Kamarados has been co-owner of Downtown Bakery for 14 years, a taste-tempting business that has been in the family for 54 years. Her father, Alex Kamarados, has one of the owners since 1958. She is very busy with the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church's Greek Festival held each year in June. She will be judging the appetizers and breads category.
Lazic is chef at the Serbian American Cultural Center, with 12 years of experience there. She is cooking class instructor at the Schiappa branch of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County, filling the library classroom with students for four years. She and her husband, Jovan, came to the states from Serbia in 2000. Her category is holiday cookies and candies.
Chivers is the head baker and deli clerk at the Wintersville Kroger store, where she has been pleasing customers with baked goods for many years. She has conducted cookie decorating programs for children and adults at the Jefferson County Fair for more than 20 years. This is her fifth year to judge, and she will be taste-testing the cakes and pies category.
Todd Piergallini, caterer with St. Florian Hall and owner and manager for Piergallini Catering, has been a judge since 1996 and has judged every category in the contest at least twice. He has served as head judge for electing the grand prize and first runner-up awardees for 11 years, missing only two years. He will be judging the main dishes and casseroles.
Houk is no newcomer to the judging duties, as she has been a grand prize winner before. She also won in various categories in the contest. Her husband, Dan, wanted her to enter a fancy tart last year and his decision for a Pear Almond Tart was a winner. This year she will judge the side dishes and salads.
The deadline for entering recipes for the Holiday Cookbook Contest is Friday. The recipes then will go to the various judges who will make their 10 best choices. These contestants will be called to prepare the dish or baked product and bring it to St. Florian Hall in Wintersville between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Nov. 8, and returning to hear the results at 1 p.m.
The categories are appetizers and breads, cakes and pies, holiday cookies and candy, main dishes and casseroles and side dishes and salads. The first-place winner in each category will receive a $35 Kroger gift card and those placing second will receive a $25 Kroger gift card. The top prize winner, selected from all five of the first place categories, will receive $300, and the runner-up will receive $125. Everyone will receive a door prize and have a chance to taste the various entries.
All recipes will be compiled into a cookbook that will be ready by Thanksgiving.