This post is from URS-2, the second season of Ultimate Recipe Showdown from 2009. For current information on the show, click here.
Back, left to right: Rick Massa, 58, from Simi Valley, CA; Guy Fieri; Michaela Rosenthal, 51, of Woodland Hills, CA
Front, left to right: Emily Hobbs, 23, of Ozark, Mo; Diana Davis, 33, of Sherman Oaks, CA
Comfort Food Competition - Sunday, January 4, 2008
It was Massa's Cheese Lovers 5 Cheese Mac & Cheese that Food Network chose as a contender in the comfort food round.
My daughter is the one who pushed me. I kept saying "No, no, no." But for whatever reason I blew it off until the last day and the last hour, entered a bunch of different categories, and lo and behold, Food Network calls me and says I made the cut.
I built it on paper; I didn't make it before I entered it. That's what was so bizarre. After I was notified I made the cut, I was making that mac and cheese for everyone in the neighborhood.
The cameras and the lights, that was no big thing. The thing where it became nerve-racking is where you're in front of the judges; that's intimidating.
Rosenthal is already in the Cooking Contest Central Hall of Fame, and this is her second appearance on Ultimate Recipe Showdown. This year, she created her signature dish, Cream of Parsnip Soup with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds.
Hobbs invented a Baked Butternut Four Cheese Farfalle with Sage. Farfalle is a type of pasta. Commonly known as "bow-tie pasta."
It was amazing to get that call that I had been chosen to be on Ultimate Recipe Showdown. They flew me and my mom out to the studio. She was totally excited. I couldn't believe it because I'm such a fan. It was like a dream come true.
I knew it was going to be tough. The day before, I had a two-hour interview. The day of competition, we were there at 6:30 a.m. until 6:30 or 7 at night. It was a long day with interviews, cooking.
The first round was the signature round and that is our best dish. Then we went on to the speed round where we had to cook a dish in 30 minutes. Mine was a panini with pumpernickel, pastrami, caramelized onion, cheese and apples. The speed round went so fast. I wanted to make the best dish I could in 30 minutes. I had 30 seconds to spare at the end.
I was really nervous. I'm a shy and quiet person, but when we got up there to cook, I was fine because I cook all the time. I was really nervous when Guy would come up to me. He was really nice. He's just like how you see him on TV. He has a really big personality and he's loud and outgoing.
Davis' signature dish is La Soupe du Cinq Mai; I was unable to contact Ms. Davis for an interview.
CCC Hall of Fame