Source: The Daily Record Online
The week before the winner of Eggland’s Best “Your Best Recipe” contest was announced, Donna Pochoday-Stelmach saw her recipe prominently listed on the company’s website.
“Mine was first so I thought, ‘Is that a sign?’ I tried to think of it as a positive sign. I was very hopeful.”
On Nov. 12, Eggland’s Best selected Morris Township resident Pochoday-Stelmach’s Peach-Blueberry Egg Bread Bake recipe as the $10,000 grand prize winner.
“I was so surprised I won. I’m humbled and thankful that Eggland’s chose me from the thousands of recipes they received. I’m happy about it. And it was around the right time, around Thanksgiving, a time to be thankful,” said Pochoday-Stelmach, who has no formal culinary training. “I think they liked that I put the peaches and the blueberries on top and it looks decorative.”
Contestants could enter recipes in four categories: appetizer, breakfast, dessert and main course. After being judged by a panel of culinary and nutritional experts, the top five recipes in each category were displayed on Eggland’s Best’s website. Readers were then asked to vote for their favorite, which added to the total score. The winner in each category would win $1,000 with the Grand Prize winner being selected from the four semi-finalists.
Pochoday-Stelmach won both the breakfast category and was crowned the grand prize winner. With her winnings, Pochoday-Stelmach said she’ll treat herself to a new French-door refrigerator.
“We really need one. That’s what I would like. My 11-year-old is wondering if he’ll get an iPad out of it,” Pochoday-Stelmach said. “Some of the money will go to my church as thanks to the Almighty for making it happen. I don’t believe in coincidences in life. Life has a way of moving to put you in certain places at certain times to make things happen. It’s definitely a hand from above.”
Pochoday-Stelmach was a long-time fan of Eggland’s Best eggs and when she saw the contest, “I said, ‘This is right up my alley.’ Baking is my hobby. I use eggs so much. The only thing they required is you have to use at least two eggs.”
As a young Ukrainian girl, Pochoday-Stelmach learned her cooking skills helping her mother in the kitchen.
“I watched and observed my mother making all the food and specialty items. At Easter time, she would make Paska bread. I helped with the 12-course non-dairy, non-meat Christmas Eve dinner,” said Pochoday-Stelmach, who was born in Poland and emigrated to New York City as a child. “One thing Ukrainians are good at doing is baking.”
“I do all the cooking for the family. My husband lied when he married me. He said he cooked. But I haven’t seen any evidence of it since,” said Pochoday-Stelmach, laughing.