Christina Verrelli grew up shadowing her mom in the kitchen: reading cookbooks, studying recipes and clipping coupons for upcoming market trips. Today, the passionate home cook is a contestant on the Food Network show “America’s Best Cook”—and hopes to ride her Dansko clogs to victory!
On the show, Verrelli uses her best recipes to impress a panel of celebrity judges, including Bobby Flay, Anne Burrell and Geoffrey Zakarian. An enthusiasm for homestyle cooking has helped Verrelli win countless contests, including a million-dollar Pillsbury bake-off in 2012, though “America’s Best Cook” represents her toughest competition yet.
“I’m not one of those super-aggressive, trash-talking competitors…I usually end up making friends with everyone,” Verrelli said. “But I’m definitely competitive against myself. I don’t have to win, but I want to do the best that I can do!”
At home, Verrelli cooks savory stews, homemade soups, delicious pot pies, and other hearty meals, though she enjoys cooking new recipes as much as perfecting old ones. If she can learn to prepare a series of unfamiliar dishes—like a dessert that incorporates bacon—she will have a shot at winning the grand prize of $50,000.
“Through all of my contests, I love learning and experimenting with different ingredients and techniques,” Verrelli continued. “Of course, I don’t win every contest I enter—but I do learn something from every dish I create.”
In order to prevent tired feet, sore legs and an aching back, Verrelli wears Dansko clogs, her “go-to kitchen shoes.” She plans to wear her Black Cherry Professional clogs from start to finish.
“Participating in ‘America’s Best Cook’ is hands down the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my Dansko clogs,” Verrelli concluded. “I cannot believe the running, jumping, leaping and messy cooking that I’ve done!”
When Verrelli returns from her TV debut, she will continue to share recipes through her blog “Epicuricloud.” From toffee bar cookies to Cincinnati Chili, Verrelli offers a little something for everyone. We have to warn you, though—avoid visiting her blog or watching “America’s Best Cook” on an empty stomach. Verrelli’s meals will send you running for the kitchen!
Watch Verrelli compete for the Food Network crown at 9 p.m. on Sunday evenings.
[Photo Credit: Brenda Carpenter Photography]