It all started about three years ago. One day, while watching TV in her Atlanta-area home, Dee Guelcher saw a “Real Women of Philadelphia” commercial. The commercial announced a contest: It was accepting video entries for recipes created using Philly Cream Cheese as an igredient. Dee had never done cooking videos at that time ( she sinces has learned how to film and edit her own videos!). Although she was not selected as a finalist, one of her recipes was selected to be in the ‘Real Women Of Philadelphia’ cookbook. She won $500, and one of her family’s favorite dishes – a Poblano Pepper recipe – was published.
While anxiously waiting to find out if she had won, Dee connected with other contestants. She was amazed to find that the atmosphere amongst the other competitors was supportive, and not the do-or-die battle one would normally expect. This camaraderie motivated Dee to enter more contests.
Since then, Dee has entered and won some exciting prizes. She loves receiving packages in the mail containing kitchen gadgets and pans she has earned as a prize. Dee also scored cash and an expenses-paid trip from Atlanta to California to watch the Rose Bowl, from Haas Avocado. This award was for her creation of an avocado-stuffed, bacon-wrapped shrimp, with an avocado dijon dipping sauce. In the August, 2011, issue of Better Homes and Gardens, Dee’s ‘Cheesecake Stuffed Baked Peaches’ were featured. On August 15th, 2012, Dee is going to have the honor of having Spike Mendelsohn from the show, ‘Top Chef’, and owner of two restaurants in Washington, D.C., come to her home and cook a meal for her, as a result of another one of her delicious creations being sellected as the Grand Prize winner in the “Don’t Let it Burn” contest. Dee was also the Grand Prize winner in the 2012 Salada Tea contest. She was one of the 10 finalists for the National Cornbread Cook-off this year sponsored by Martha White & Lodge Cast Iron & she won First Place ($1,100.00) in the AJC/Kroger Mother’s day Recipe contest this year with her Tropical Salmon Wellington.
Almost as much as the prizes she has won, Dee values the strong friendships she has developed as a result of entering cooking contests. She is amazed at all of the people that she has met who share her same passion for food. They provide each other with lots of support and encouragment, so much so, that it is not uncommon for some to travel hundreds of miles just to be there to cheer each other on.
When I asked Dee where she gets her inspiration and ideas, she replied, “I thank God that I am so blessed with creativity. Sometimes it takes awhile, but then I wake up in the middle of the night and say, ‘That’s it!” Dee also pointed out that the odds of winning are, of course, dependent upon how many people enter. However, she has won in many competitions which had many entrants. Dee recently took 3rd place in the Aetna Healthy Food Fight competition in Atlanta, beating over 400 other contenders!
Right now, Dee has several entries in varioius contests. There are a few things in the works, but there are two in particular that she is anxiously awaiting responses from: First, Dee has issued a challenge to Louis Alston, Atlanta radio station 99X DJ, producer and co-creater of the show, ‘World Of Lewis’. Lewis has accepted, however has yet to set the date for the show. Secondly, Dee can’t wait to find out if she has won the opportunity to cook on the TV show, ‘The Chew’. Right now, she is one of 4 contestants being considered. She loves the show and it would be a dream come true if she were chosen to be on it.
Dee Guelcher’s motivation and determination keep her going. She is an inspiration to many, and proof positive that success can be acheived through patience and perserverance!