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Candidates for the 2017 KCBS Board of Directors Election

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December 6, 2016

Each Candidate for the Board of Directors was given the following list of questions:

1. Please describe the skills you posses (which you believe are stronger than the other candidates) which would make you an asset as a board member, in dealing with the challenges facing KCBS, and give an example of how those skills would serve the KCBS Board of Directors and its membership.

2. If you are a Cook, Judge, Rep or Backyard Cook, please identify the major KCBS issues concerning one of the areas in which you are involved. Describe the major issue, your strategies to correct or improve the issue, and what you see as the biggest challenge to the success of your plan.

3. Identify your major short term goal and the major long term goal, if elected to the Board of KCBS and your plan to implement change or improvement in order to carry out each of these goals.

4. If elected please explain, “your level of commitment, time and energy” for committee projects and monthly reports, board meetings and attendance, as well as representing KCBS to the public and being responsive to our members.

5. What new ideas would you have in regards to marketing or new ideas that would benefit membership?

6. Please describe your previous participation in KCBS activities and years of experience.

7. Please explain why you want to be a member of the KCBS Board of Directors.
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Randall Bowman

Question 1

I believe my years of experience inside the BBQ world in all aspects of it, my successful business experience as well as my experience in member driven, non-profit organizations make me a very strong candidate for the KCBS Board of Directors. These years of experience bring a level of knowledge of the daily dealings of KCBS to the table that not many if any other candidates hold.

Question 2

I am a cook, a judge, a table captain, lifetime KCBS member, an event organizer and BBQ industry business owner as well as a contest representative for closely related events. I think there are really a few issues to hit on in regards to the current state of KCBS, I think we as an organization have a lack of transparency that needs to be addressed. I think there is a lot of behind the scenes deal making done at times to benefit a very small number of members. It is imperative that the KCBS board be 100% transparent with its membership and not cater to one small faction but to the majority. Any and all communication should be available to the member base (with the exception of executive session material). We have witnessed many rule changes in the past few years that are not beneficial to the majority of the member base and cater to a very small number. I think that KCBS as an organization needs to really get a grip on where it came from, where it is now and where it needs to be steered to in the near and far future. We need programs to reward judges and organizers as well as cooks. We seem to have focused on a few very small programs over the years that only benefit a very small number of our members. The membership base is made up of a wide variety of people from all over the world and the majority needs to be given the opportunity and knowledge to help steer KCBS in the direction the majority sees fit. We are not in a time any longer that an event consists of 6 teams cooking for a 6 pack of beer. Competition BBQ is a business and a big one. KCBS is a leader in competition BBQ and we as members need to make the needed changes to assure it stays a leader. I feel we need to have a focus group comprised of cooks, judges, reps and organizers to all come up with a list of short term and long term goals for KCBS as a group that we can openly discuss and get input from our members to begin to implement programs that help attain these goals.

Question 3

My short term goal would be to stop the catering to a small % of the member base and re focus on the majority. All current programs in place are great but constant and complete changes are not a solution to any of the current issues at hand. Any restructuring of any program needs to be stopped until it can truly be looked at and re-evaluated to assure it is in the best interest of the majority, I think I hit on some short term and long term goals in my previous question answer but we as a group need to find ways to be driven by our majority and the board is only there to represent those that elected them (The majority). Catering to small factions or personal interests and agendas need to be weeded out.

Question 4

Those that know me already know, when I commit to something I am all in and will do whatever it takes. I have always been this way in every aspect of my life and whole heartedly feel that as an elected board member you should not throw your name in the hat if you are not available to the member base. I sit on two KCBS Committees currently (Marketing and Banquet) and I think if you reach out to any current board member or fellow committee member they will all tell you I do more than my fair share.

Question 5

I think we need to implement more public recognition programs for long term members, Judges, Volunteers, etc. We have an incredible BBQ Family and I am amazed daily with the efforts they go to help event, teams, each other. We should celebrate this more. We need to look at offer more support and training to event organizers, backyard teams and new judges. We will not have a future if we do not retain members. We are growing but we do not have many events that make it past 5 years, we do not have many members that make it past 5 years. We do not have may cook teams that make it past 5 years. We need to change this.

Question 6

I have been cooking KCBS Contest for 10+ years, we have in some years cooked 20-25 events, I have judges many event, table captained at many events, volunteered at many events, I organize or help organize 5-8 events  a year. I am one of the 2 official reps for The World Food Championships Kitchen area (All WFC event with the exception of BBQ), I currently sit on the KCBS marketing Committee as well as the Banquet Committee. I am a KCBS lifetime member and have been a KCBS member for over 10 years. I am an ambassador for the BBQ industry everywhere I go as the BBQ Family is an amazing one. I am the owner of Deep South Smokers as well and am in some aspect involved in BBQ just about 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Question 7

I think we need to make some changes to insure the future of KCBS for all of its current and future members. I would like for my children and grandchildren as well as yours to be afforded the fabulous opportunities we have been so fortunate to have had if they so desire. I think we are in a very trying era in BBQ and it is time to lay another level of foundation to the KCBS organization.
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Phillip Brazier

Question 1

I don’t know if it is, necessarily, a skill, but I feel accessibility is an advantage I may have over the other candidates.

I help rep, approximately, twenty-six (26) contest a year.  That puts me into contact with hundreds of cook teams and judges.  These contests are in Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and Louisiana so I see a variety of teams and judges.

Though it is not required, at every contest I am, usually, on site by 9:00 AM on Friday morning to start passing out turn-in boxes and, usually, do not leave Friday until early evening.  Teams know this and know that they can always approach me about any issue or concern they may have. 

On Saturdays, I am, usually, at Cook’s Church at 6:45 AM and then, take the official clock around for the teams.  This allows me to be in the judging area when judges start arriving and this is my opportunity to visit and spend some time with them.

I repeat, this is not required of reps to be on site that early or for that length of time, but I do so because I enjoy being around the teams and judges to just talk.  It is just the way I have elected to perform my responsibilities.  Thus . . . accessibility.

Because of this interaction, I feel I could be an asset to the board as I see and hear about ALL aspects of a contest.

Question 2

As a rep, one of the major KCBS issues I see at every contest is in regards to judging.  I do not, totally, fault the judges.  I fault that, since I have been a member of KCBS, there have been too many judging “methods” taught.

When I started judging, it was taught that “If you would drive over an hour to buy that bbq it deserved a ‘9’”.  Later, it was taught “These are pro teams so everything starts at “9” and as you find things wrong deduct down”.  Then, it moved to “Start at ‘6’ (average) and score up for each good thing about the sample and mark down for each thing you find wrong”.  Now, it is taught “take a bite, then look on the scorecard and see which description best describes that bite and use that number”.

When I look around a room full of judges at a contest, I see some judges that have gone through all these “systems”, I see some that have gone through one, two or three of these teachings.  And it is hard for judges that judged one way for years to re-adjust to a new system.

You noticed I used the statement earlier “I do not, totally, fault the judges”.  That is because I do feel that there are judges out here that, for whatever reason, still judge by the way they were taught and have not embraced the present method of judging and this needs to be addressed.

If elected, I would like for us to study the present CBJ training class and see if it needs to be or can be tweaked to, possibly, take out the confusing areas such as “above average”, “average”, and “below average”.  But, regardless if any changes are made or not, some type of media needs to be developed so judges can be REFRESHED on the present system.

Question 3

My major short term goal is geared for myself.  I want to learn more about why some things are the way they are in KCBS. 

Such as, why KCBS can’t protect their teams from contests that renege on their pay outs?

Why are some new contests being sanctioned even though they may be on the same date and within close proximity of an established contest?

Why hasn’t the data gathered from judge tracking been utilized?

I am sure there are answers to these questions out there, and I want to know them and, if not, I would like to offer assistance in getting them answered.

I don’t feel that I can say that I can do anything about these issues until I learn more about them.

As for my long term goal, I would, as I stated earlier, like to see the present judging process studied, evaluated, and either modified or replaced.  I am sure there is a system “out there” that would fit our needs, but we have just not hit on it.  Or maybe some adjustments in the wording of our present system can be the answer.

Either way, I do not want this to be one of those knee jerk reactions that I feel have been implemented way too often.  I feel it needs to be thoroughly thought through and not just thrown out there.

Question 4

For several years, I had been approached about running for the board, but I never, really, considered it as I felt I could not give it the attention that I wanted to give it due to work.  I have, recently, retired and I feel that I can now participate to the level I had desired.

I am anxious to be an active board member, but know not to spread myself so thin that I cannot be effective.

Question 5

In regards to marketing, I would like to discuss with MMA and see why we can’t utilize our relationship with Sam’s Club to promote KCBS.  The stores that host our contests seem to know very little about what is actually happening in their own parking lot.

I would like to see these host stores display banners and/or signs with at least the KCBS logo on them for a couple of weeks leading up to the contest.  Thus, getting KCBS’ name in front of the store’s customers.

There are some nice discount programs presently available for members, but I would like to see that expanded.  Maybe some cook teams who have their own line of rubs and/or sauces can offer their wares to members through the program.  Maybe some of the sponsors of KCBS can expand into the discount program.

Question 6

My first exposure to KCBS was in 1989 at the FIRST Jack Daniel World Championship BBQ Contest.  I was working at Jack Daniel at the time and my boss “suggested” that all salaried employees go to the park and help with “some type of bbq thing that Marketing was putting on”.  I showed up on Saturday morning, a man named Gary Wells looked at me and said “you a big ole boy, you can be a table captain”.  I asked him what a table captain did and he told me to clean the table after the judges got through with each category and give them clean plates for the next one.  I was a table captain, judge or Backyard Rep at The Jack for the next twenty (20) years. I was hooked.

I thought my membership was paid that first year and renewed each year afterwards, but found out it had not been so I paid up, took the CBJ class and have been an official member for 20+ years.

In 2002, I (along with my wife, Kathy) became a Contest Rep.  I have repped contests in AL, AR, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, NC, OH, TN, TX, and VA.  And, as I stated in an earlier question, I rep about twenty-six (26) contests a year.

I have been a Certified Table Captain Instructor for 10+ years and helped Tony Stone develop the first training manual.

I have served on the CBJ Committee and am presently on the Rules Committee.

I have attended the KCBS Banquet the last several years and have worked as a volunteer at each one.

Question 7

I would like to be a member of the KCBS Board of Directors as I feel that my years of experience as a contest rep can help provide insight in many areas of Board business.

I feel that over the years, hopefully, I have gained the trust of many cook teams, judges, and fellow reps to the extent that they know they can come to me with issues and concerns that they feel need to be brought before the board.
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Tom Hillman

Question 1

I have been in the Hospitality Industry for 38 years having managed restaurants and hotels. For the past 18 years I have served as COO of a Hotel Management Company that is recognized as a leader in the Industry.  This successful track record of exceeding guest expectations, employee expectations and investors’ expectations blends well with the challenges within KCBS of meeting the expectations of Judges, Cooks, Reps, Organizers and other BOD members.  I have been successful in directing and leading different groups with their own priorities towards a single goal of cooperation and success for all involved.

Question 2

In speaking with all membership groups within KCBS, it is clear to me that the biggest issue facing KCBS is the Judging System.  In its current stage of evolution, this system is not at its best, for any of these groups or KCBS as an organization.  My belief is that it’s not a “judges” problem but rather a system problem that is not fair to Judges, Cooks, Reps and Organizers.  The system has become outdated and has evolved into basically a 2 point scoring scale of 8’s and 9’s.  This system isn’t fair to work within for any of the membership groups that make up KCBS.

My strategy to address the problems would be to identify all the issues that contribute to the problem, develop actions to address each issue, and then work with all membership groups to implement change that is fair to all.  KCBS should contract with an outside third party to conduct a comprehensive survey of all members regarding their concerns and to gather suggestions about how to improve the Judging system.  This third party should have no special interest or agenda in the results of the survey.  This non biased approach is crucial for the beginning of the system redevelopment.  From there, a plan for change is designed and set forth.  There is not one solution, but rather many that need to be combined.  This is not a quick fix situation as we’ll have one chance to get it right and it will take cooperation from all membership groups, the BOD and Executive leadership.

The biggest challenge to the success of this plan would be arriving at a consensus among the BOD and Executive leadership of KCBS to admit that there is a problem, then to set aside personal feelings and interests to do what is right for the entire membership.

Question 3

My short term goal would be to achieve a consensus among the BOD and Executive leadership to acknowledge there is a problem then to address it and establish a plan to revamp the Judging System - A system that is fair and beneficial to all membership groups.  This would ensure that KCBS remains the leader in competition BBQ Organizations.  This goal can be achieved by following the plan outlined in my response to question #2

My long term goal would be to prepare KCBS for future growth and success.  While we must always respect the past, we must also always prepare for the future.  The key to any organization or business wishing to grow and succeed, is to not be satisfied with the status quo.  Rather, we must challenge it in order to grow and be successful.  I intend to challenge the status quo while also respecting the past. 

Question 4

My level of commitment is “All In”.  It’s the only way I know to be successful.

Question 5

Marketing should be handled by the professionals with whom KCBS has contracted for those services.  The BOD should monitor and direct these efforts but the BOD’s primary responsibility is to serve the membership.

Question 6

I began competing in KCBS contests in 2009 and became a CBJ in 2014.  For the past three years I have organized a very successful fundraiser for OBR.

Question 7

I want to be a member of the KCBS BOD to effect a change within KCBS that leads to increased satisfaction among all membership groups.  This will make KCBS a stronger organization that all can proud to be a part of.

I invite anyone wishing to discuss these answers to contact me at tom_hillman@bellsouth.net
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Michael McDearman

Question 1

Being in barbecue contest organization full-time, I have a great advantage seeing the whole country and multiple viewpoints from judges, volunteers, cook teams, organizers and community’s viewpoints. While I will not be able to vote on things dealing directly with the Sam's Club Tour (like any other BOD member and a conflict of interest), I firmly believe I bring ideas for further growth, process and operations improvement and education of the food sport we love.

Question 2

Our sport is a very passionate one. It also comes with a cost to go and compete. For the health of the organization and the sport's integrity, there are some areas in the judge class teachings and the standardization of the table placement which need to be addressed. Week after week seeing the KCBS process in action, it’s easy to see we have an organization that has judges who have learned a number of different ways to start at 9 and work your way down scoring, middle scoring etc. Defining what average bbq is (average you have ever eaten, average restaurant bbq, average eating pleasure, etc) needs to be defined. There are scoring variances that judges have. KCBS has data compiled for a few years on our patterns. Determining who can use this great tool and how needs to be a focus of the organization now to help the consistent judging of bbq and the integrity of the organization's process. I have been studying the scoring occurring around the country and do bring a lot to the table on these topics with a global outlook, not just a regional perspective.

Question 3

Along with my answer to question two, KCBS is at one of its most pivotal transition times in it's history. There is every indication that the organization will have a transition in leadership. Carolyn Wells, the GodMother of BBQ, has had discussions with this board of retirement. If this occurs, the search for an Executive Director for the now and the future of the organization and how the board operates, will need to be addressed. I would want to ensure a thorough search for extraordinary candidates to help our organization continue its traditions and also live up to its missions with experience (whether in bbq or other similar industries).

Question 4

I have spoken with a number of current BOD members and feel certain my time and attention will be there for all involved.

Question 5

The growth of our sport is two arenas. Domestic and Internationally. Both have nuances, approaches and am a firm believer in exploring all ideas and options to keep our traditional organization moving forward in the modern world. With the added space of the new headquarters, the potential leadership transitions and potential moving of skillsets in house to better adjust and keep websites, social media etc up to date, this will be an exciting time on the marketing and membership forefront!

Question 6

The KCBS has undergone some modernization in recent years. The electronic version of the Bullsheet, what needs to be looked at with rep consistency and judge training. These are all areas I have been a part of. The communications committee under Candy Weaver's guidance made great strides and I was a part of that. Seeing the needs of the reps and judges area of KCBS, I recently joined those committees but on the tail end of the term. I look forward to serving our organization into the future in whatever capacity will help it most.

Question 7

Very simply, I feel KCBS is at a key moment in its history. I also feel that I bring a lot to the table which will contribute to the best possible outcomes for the future of our organization. Judges volunteers and teams have seen me in action, know that I want positive progress for the support we love, and will be efficient in focusing on the real issues. Thank you for any of your support.
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Kimberly Moore

Question 1

I believe as a cook of an active competing team, I would bring a different perspective that can add value to the board. I served on the board of directors for the California BBQ Association for three years, the first as Vice President and the last two as the first woman President of the organization.  I understand the needs of members and listen to each one of their suggestions and complaints. I’m willing to stand up for what is right and have no problem dealing with issues and taking them head on.  I have a strong passion for all things BBQ and pride myself in doing what I can to follow the mission and take an organization forward.

Question 2

I know this is a broken record but it has yet to be fixed. As a cook I think the increased number of judging classes has gotten out of control. Our judging pool is so saturated that I have heard from judges it makes it extremely difficult to be accepted to even judge a contest. On the calendar for 2016 there is a total of 67 judging classes across the country, I believe there isn’t a need to have that many classes. I believe what we should do instead of focusing on bringing in new judges is to assist our existing judges to expand their knowledge and teach consistency across the board.  I would like to see if we can possibly use a different criteria on how judges are seated at tables during the contest and possibly correct the situation.  

Question 3

Short Term Goals: Become the advocate for cooks and link the communication gap between KCBS and competitors

Long Term Goals: Become an asset to the KCBS board and ensure I get a complete understanding on how to quickly get issues identified and resolved.

Question 4

As the past President of a BBQ organization with almost 350 members I understand the time and commitment that is needed to get things done. I have no issue or anything that prevents me from listening to our members and resolving any issues that come my way.

Question 5

I would increase our social media presence by possibly doing a FB live after judging a particular category at a contest or instead of doing judging classes do a variety of classes that include top ranked teams from across the country to demonstrate different trimming techniques or cooking techniques. The possibility of doing a Q & A on FB Live with different judges, representatives, organizers and competition cooks where the KCBS members can be actively involved.  

Question 6

I have been a member of KCBS since 2011, organized sanctioned KCBS backyard contest for new upcoming teams, and have cooked in KCBS sanctioned contest for the past 5 years.

Question 7

I want to make an impact in the BBQ community and be able to support KCBS members where they feel that the board is truly listening and working diligently to continue to resolve their concerns.  It’s important to me that BBQ remains a fun and family friendly atmosphere and that can only happen if we do what we can to ensure each contest is for the teams. 
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Dennis Polson

Question 1

I would bring to the Board of Directors my experience from serving 3 years on the BOD.  I have served on the following committees during that time: First year - Nominations Chair, Membership/Education Co-chair, Strategic Planning member, Rep member, and CBJ member;  second year- Technology Chair, Membership/Education Co-Chair, Nominations member, Rep member, CBJ member, and CBJ Instructor member;  third year: Rep Chair, CBJ Chair, CBJ Instructor Chair, and Technology member.   I will let my record stand for my service to the KCBS Board.

Question 2

I am a Rep, MCBJ, Certified Table Captain, and a CBJ and Table Captain Instructor.  This year my committees have taken steps forward in improving the CBJ continuing education by putting online 100 new questions to replace the old 50 questions.  Plans are in the works to improve the CBJ class power point and book to focus more on judging and less on garnish.  We are working toward a more informed set of Reps to be on the same page at all contests.  We are looking at ways we can use the Judges Score program to benefit seating of Judges.  We are encouraging Judges to be more professional by reviewing the 100 Continuing Education Questions and to go a CBJ class as a refresher class.  I would also like to see Cooks give up a weekend of competing and go work in a judging tent to have a better understanding of the process.

Question 3

My short and long time goals are the same: to improve Organizers, Judges, Table Captains, Cooks, and Reps’ knowledge of the Rules and Regulations of KCBS.  Each of these entities make up the spokes of a contest wheel, with KCBS as the hub.  If each understand the other, the wheel will move smoothly.

Question 4

In my past 3 years, I have missed one KCBS meeting.  I was in Canada and could not get phone service.  I have missed a few committee meetings, but never one that I chair.  With KCBS meetings, committee meetings, and time I spend on the phone or computer doing business for KCBS, I commit 15 to 25 hours a week.  I am retired and have the time to spend on behalf of the BOD.

Question 5

I think the Marketing committee is doing a fine job.  At this time, I have no suggestions. During this term on the Board, the Marketing Committee has always been open to suggestions and communication and would hopefully continue to do so.

Question 6

Linda and I became members of KCBS in 2005.  We started as Organizers, then took a CBJ class.  We became MCBJs and Reps in 2006.  We have judged more than 86 contests and Repped about 180 contests in 18 states and Canada.

Question 7

I served my first 3 year term and started some projects I would like to see to the finish.  I do want to tell the voting membership that I am 73 years old and will serve as long as my health will permit, if elected to a second term.
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Eddie Smith

Question 1

  • Military Veteran – U.S. Navy, 4 years.
  • Contest Organizer – Jiggy with the Piggy, 4 years.
  • Public Servant – City Manager, 17 years.
  • Policy Development
  • Personnel management
  • Budget Preparation
  • Logistical Planning
  • Statistical Analysis
  • Public Speaking
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Communication

All of the aforementioned skills seem appropriate for improving communications among Board Members, Cook Teams, Judges, and Organizers, while also evaluating the effectiveness of KCBS support and programs for all of its members.

Question 2

As a cook, judge, and organizer, there are several challenges that could use some attention:

  1. Inconsistent Judging Scores: Too many times I’ve witnessed new and experienced judges unknowingly admit to flawed scoring based on garnish, absence of burnt ends, etc., that could be mitigated with continuing education via online webinars or recurring training videos on YouTube or the KCBS website. I think judges should also be strongly encouraged to cook with a team within their first 10 events, providing a better understanding of the financial and time commitment teams invest for each event; however, teams also need to be more receptive to hosting judges’ onsite for training purposes (maybe KCBS could underwrite entry fees for participating teams).
  2. Quality Events: Many new organizers don’t understand the commitment necessary to host a quality event and underestimate the value of establishing spacious sites, efficient team and judge check-in, adequate and reliable power, and easily accessible water. While organizers are required to shadow at least one event prior to being sanctioned, I suggest requiring new organizers shadow at least two events providing greater exposure to best practices.
  3. Inconsistent Reps: I have witnessed inconsistency among Reps based on how they handle judge check-in, table assignments, and turn-in box distribution. I understand allowing Reps some flexibility but creating standards would help provide some consistency for judges and teams from one event to another.

Question 3

  1. Short-term goal: Create videos or webinars on YouTube or the KCBS website to provide convenient and on-command continuing education for judges.

 

  1. B.   Long-term goals:
    1. New Organizer Mentoring Program to provide logistical guidance  and help ensure a favorable experience for teams and judges.
    2. Scoring Insurance Program for event organizers to purchase a policy that monetarily rewards a team that earns a 700+ score (similar to a “Hole in One” award at golf tournaments).
    3. Event Shadow Program for interested cook teams to learn the time and resources necessary to coordinate a successful event.
    4. Improve Social Media Reach to better promote the KCBS brand, teams, and events.

Question 4

I have served on the following Boards and understand the commitment necessary to be an effective and contributing member:

  • Rotary Club – Past President
  • YMCA Board of Directors; Board Member
  • Crime Stoppers; Past-Chairperson
  • Chamber of Commerce; Past Board Member, Leadership Steering Committee
  • Regional Hospital; Past Board Member
  • Church Finance and Personnel Committees; Past Member

I would never accept a nomination for any organization if I wasn’t prepared to make the fullest commitment necessary to represent my fellow cooks, judges, and organizers.

Question 5

See Long-term goals.

Question 6

  • KCBS Member since 2010
  • Cook: 50 events (One Grand Championship)
  • Judge: 25 events; Table Captain
  • Contest Organizer: 4 years; Jiggy with the Piggy BBQ Challenge; 75+ Teams
  • The Old North State BBQ Series (Intra-State KCBS series); Founding Member; Chairperson 2013-present.

Question 7

It is an honor to be a nominee among so many wonderful cooks, judges, reps, and organizers. I love everything about KCBS: the fellowship, competition, camaraderie, friendships, travel, and food. I think my experience as a cook, judge, and organizer provides a perspective to identify and evaluate any challenges and solutions from different angles.

 

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