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Our New Recipe Contest Community Moderators

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We’ve long prided ourselves on our recipe contests, calling upon our community of cooking and baking enthusiasts to share their latest, greatest creations with us. The finalists earn a place in the Food52 recipe log, and the winner takes home a feature on the homepage, and bragging rights for eternity.

Our community moderators help us narrow down the very best contest recipes, using their years of culinary experience (and general love for our outstanding readers) to analyze each entry from mise en place to plate. After much deliberation—and we mean much—they declare the champion, and we all celebrate.

Get to know our moderators a little better, and enter this season’s contest below. We can’t wait to see what inspires you!

Megan Roberts-Satinsky

Tell us about your culinary background.
I’m a self-taught home cook.

Greatest culinary influence?
My grandmother (turning 100 this year, and who I named my daughter after) is my biggest cooking influence. I spent summers with her and my grandfather fishing, crabbing, and cooking. She has a way to make even the simplest dish incredibly tasty.

Favorite cooking competition show?
Top Chef. I watch it religiously.

Favorite food film?
Ratatouille. I have two young kids and we all love it.

If you could be a fresh-picked herb from a garden, which would you be?
Basil. It’s so versatile and goes with different cuisines (Thai, Italian) and sweet and savory flavor profiles. I like to think of myself as adaptable and flexible.

What’s a famous food debate you’ve weighed in on?
I would form a club called “People Against the Excessive use of Condiments.” It grates on me when people drown food in a strong condiment like ketchup or mustard in a way that destroys the flavor of the dish itself.

Most epic or memorable kitchen fail?
I tend to burn rather than toast nuts on a regular basis.

What are three exciting things in your refrigerator right now?
Black truffle butter, orange cauliflower, a large hunk of Pecorino Romano.

Midnight snack of choice?
Any form of pretzel, my favorite snack.

Suzanne DeBrango

Tell us about your culinary background.
I am a home cook with no professional training. Watching and helping my mother in the kitchen, and watching cooking shows, reading cookbooks, and watching cooking videos and demonstrations has been my informal eduction.

Greatest culinary influence?
My mom, I loved watching her cook and bake. She was a natural
in the kitchen, and I was her shadow, sous-chef, and sometimes even critic. To this day, our
favorite thing to talk about is food (mostly what I have been cooking). My most treasured
possessions are the handwritten recipe cards she sent me.

Favorite cooking competition show?
Top Chef and Great British Bake-Off.

Favorite food film?
Babette’s Feast. This Norwegian film is one of my absolute favorites, I have watched it over and over and never tire of it. The detail in the preparation of the food is mesmerizing, but as important is the underlying message of kindness, humanity, and how food brings us together.

If you could be a fresh-picked herb from a garden, which would you be?
Basil, it’s my favorite herb and I love to always have a distinctive variety of fresh basil on hand.

What’s a famous food debate you’ve weighed in on?
Ketchup on scrambled eggs. Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!

Most epic or memorable kitchen fail?
You should never leave anything on the stove unattended when you go out. Long story
short, I thought the stove was on the lowest setting, all the liquid cooked off, the pot caught on fire and I came home to the fire department at my home (my blackened pot and charred chicken on my front lawn).

What are three exciting things in your refrigerator right now?
Italian butter, homemade pesto, sourdough starter.

Midnight snack of choice?
An apple or banana with peanut butter.

Marina Chotzinoff

Tell us about your culinary background.
I grew up in a family that loved cooking and eating global cuisines. My mom had a cake and catering business, and would often bring home whatever unusual ingredients were available at the time: whole tongue, tiny baby octopus, buddha’s hand. My dad would become so moved by various literary passages (or fancy meat catalogs) that he was often in the kitchen in the wee hours attempting to recreate a Chinese noodle dish or fill out order forms for gourmet ingredients. They both taught me to cook pretty early, and introduced me to all sorts of dishes and flavors. In college I worked in restaurants and for a catering company, cooking and serving in the Hamptons, which only reinforced my love of cooking and good ingredients.

Favorite cooking competition show?
The original Iron Chef. The timing of that show was so formative in my young adult cooking world, with incredible ingredients, talented chefs, and some great (and dramatic) commentary.

Favorite food film?
Jiro Dreams of Sushi. It’s a beautiful movie on a captivating subject, and was actually made by my distant cousin, David Gelb.

If you could be a fresh-picked herb from a garden, which would you be?
Cilantro—I’ve been growing it in the garden, and the fresh coriander berries it produces have the most incredible flavor. They’re only available during that short window of time (conveniently when fresh tomatoes are ready to eat). I harvest the dried seeds for my pantry.

What’s a famous food debate you’ve weighed in on?
This is not really a food debate, though it is cooking-related. My husband insists that two dishwashers would make things exponentially more efficient in the kitchen. I think it would add yet another layer of complexity, confusion, and added time in looking for things. Please help us end this debate.

Most epic or memorable kitchen fail?
I am glad to say that it was not today, when I drove off leaving a batch of Andrea Nguyen’s chicken pho broth cooling in a vat of ice on the counter. Luckily I remembered after driving a block and got it into the fridge.It would probably be the time I tried to make a German chocolate cake for my husband. I overcooked the filling, which resulted in a hockey puck of coconut and nuts. I tried to layer it anyway, and put another frosting puck on top, but it was completely inedible.

What are three exciting things in your refrigerator right now?
My mom gave me some limequats, which I have been using in cocktails and which, when grilled, make for a sweet, complex salad dressing. Tonight I will serve them with the afore-mentioned pho broth, and a spoonful of Chile Crunch (one of the best condiments of all time).

Midnight snack of choice?
I don’t know the last time I was awake (or eating) at midnight.

What are you making for our latest recipe contest? Let us know in the comments (and don’t forget to enter!)

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