CRESTVIEW — One of the community's top prize-winning home chefs has fared so well in nationwide competitions that she quit her job to make cooking her main focus.
"I wanted to concentrate on my cooking adventures," Sherri Williams said. "I'm an actual homemaker right now and I enjoy it."
Recently, she defeated hundreds of competitors from across the nation to win "Good Morning America's" Game Day Grub Contest with her Barbecue Pulled Pork Pepper Poppers.
"They are so good and they are so easy," Williams said. "You can make them the day before. Even if you don't eat pork you can use any kind of protein in them. You can use veggie crumbles or veggie cheese and they will still be just as good."
When area residents learned that a Crestview cook was a finalist in the contest, Williams' Facebook page, Cooking With Love and Passion, was swamped with "friend" requests.
"They were excited when they saw someone from Crestview was on 'Good Morning America,'" Williams said. "I've met a lot of friends from my cooking."
They can look forward to Williams' next nationwide appearance later this spring when she appears on the A&E network's World Food Championship, taped a couple months ago in Las Vegas.
Stymied by ice
An ice storm that struck the area closed Northwest Florida Regional Airport and precluded her being in ABC's Times Square TV studios for her moment of triumph.
"I didn't even get to go! It was crazy," Williams said. "I was looking forward to going. And of course, the show was pre-empted here. I got the link later on to see it on Facebook."
After her victory was announced, heralded by a squad of school-age cheerleaders running through the GMA set, Williams appeared on the show via a Skype link from her Crestview kitchen.
Williams joins her "foodie friends" in Cooking Contest Central, an Internet group that follows recipe contest opportunities. In fact, she competed against a friend on the GMA contest.
"We have a lot of the same friends in common," Williams said. "We were up against hundreds of people in the nation but we were against each other too. That was kind of hard."
Williams said she'll keep submitting recipes as cooking contests that tickle her fancy are announced, using Roy, her husband of 32 years, as her chief taste-tester and food critic.
"I'm at that age when I can do what I love to do, and that's cooking and sharing it with everybody else," Williams said.