Saturday, June 7, 2014

Macy's Sizzle Showdown Semi-Finals for The Grilling Guru

This post is sponsored by the Everywhere Society

On Saturday, June 7th 2014, I traveled up the CT I-91 corridor to Holyoke Massachusetts to attend the Sizzle Showdown Semi-finals for Macy's Great American Grilling Guru 2014.  Contestants from around the country submitted their best grill recipes for a chance to be considered in the semi-final showdown held in select Macy's across the nation. Contestants in each region were judged by member's of Macy's Celebrity Chef Culinary Council. (Note: A giveaway booklet of the recipes submitted is at the end of this post.)

Contestants (L-R) Erin Evenson, Sarah Malikowski, Irma Ferretti
(L) MC Billy Costa of KISS 108 FM in Boston (R) Culinary Council Chef Nancy Silverton

While these three grilling gurus were competing in Holyoke, MA, similar contests were going on in Leawood, KS,  Lynnwood, WA, Charlotte, NC, Pittsburgh, PA, Skokie, IL, and the winner from each region will be eligible to compete in the grand finale held at Macy’s Herald Square in New York, NY!

Before we move on to the contest - I have to say I was completely blown away by the fact that Macy's Holyoke combined this event with the Macy's Country Fair-Featuring Great American Fun and Food! It was a mini state fair, right there in the Macy's parking lot. There are always great events going on at Macy's! Check the events list on the Macy's web page near you for upcoming specials!

Macy's Country Fair - Featuring Great American Fun and Food

At about 2:30pm the showdown began, with each contestant given an hour on the clock to create their dish.
During the cooking time, Host Billy Costa of Boston's KISS 108 FM and Judge, Celebrity Chef, Restauranteer, and Cookbook Author Nancy Silverton entertained the audience with Macy's Trivia Contests, samples from Nancy's new cookbook Mozza, and foodie tips and chatter!

Radicchio marinated in balsamic vinegar and grilled with pancetta
From Chef Nancy's Mozza Cookbook

Nancy also gave us her tips for grilling the tastiest burgers. First and foremost, to use ground chuck. And I have to say, that the burger that I sampled using Nancy's recipe and her amazing spicy chipolte mayo was INCREDIBLE.

Nancy's Burgers with Chipolte Mayo, Applewood smoked bacon, and avocado

On to the Sizzle Showdown Semi-Finals

Meet Contestant #1, Sarah Malikowski from Hampden Maine who prepared a Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Herb Goat Cheese and Prosciutto. I had the opportunity to chat with Sarah briefly before the clock began and learned that she competed last year in the prestigious Pillsbury Bake Off!

Sarah Malikowski, Hampden ME
Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Herb goat Cheese and Prosciutto

Meet Contestant #2, Erin Everson from Brookly, New York, who prepared Spicy Grilled Squid and Shrimp Salad with Charred Tomatoes, Crispy Watercress and Caahews. During the competition we learned that grilling is difficult to practice for this Brookly NY native - it's not allowed in Erin's neighborhood.

Erin Everson, Brooklyn NY
Spicy Grilled Squid and Shrimp Salad

Now meet Contestant #3, the adorable Irma Ferretti, who hails from Ossining, New York, but originates from Ecuador. Irma brought the game to a whole new level by entering a dessert of Grilled Bourbon Glazed Peaches. I can tell you that the sauce smelled heavenly as she prepared it and the glazed peaches grilled? So innovative!

Irma Fennetti, Ossining, New York
Grilled Bourbon Glazed Peaches

Our Sizzle Showdown Judge Nancy sure had her work cut out for her - and as she sampled each dish she critiqued the contestant.

However, in the end, there can be only one winner, and that contestant is....(drum roll please)

Sarah Malikowski's -- Grilled Stuffed Chicken!

Congratulations Sarah!

 But, at Macy's everyone is a winner, and the runner-up contestants went home with a Macy's Gift Card!

Macy's Sizzle Showdown - Grilling Gurus

I would be remiss if I didn't mention all the hard work that went into this fabulous event! Everyone at Macy's from the sales associates to the event staff, to the auxiliary caterers, were what made this competition such a success!

And YOU can be a winner too! Two lucky readers will each receive a copy of the Sizzle Showdown Recipe book that contains the grill recipes prepared by all the competitors in each region. That's right! You can make Sarah's winning chicken dish too! And the booklet contains recipes from each of the members of the Macy's Culinary Council, as well!

It's a Win-Win!


Just enter the raffle copter below!

Note: This contest begins on 6-8-14 and ends on 6-15-14 at midnight. Home Place Blog is responsible for the dissemination of prizes. Entrants must reside in the continental U.S.
Home Place Blog will notify the winners within 48 hours of the contest end and at that time the winner must provide a valid U.S. mailing address.

This book contains over 20 grill recipes from regions across the U.S.!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more pictures of the event visit the Home Place Blog facebook page HERE and while you're there don't forget to like us!

Do you like to back yard grill? What's your favorite item to grill? Let me know in the comments below!

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Disclosure: I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post about Macy’s Culinary Council. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own. 


  1. I've been to the mall in Holyoke and you are right. There's a lot going on all the time. My favorite item to grill are burgers. Good old fashioned burgers a big honkin' hunk of cheese on them!

    1. I had such a good time but wish I had known about the County Fair, I would have arrived a bit earlier and brought the whole family! Mmmmm! I've been hankering for some more grilled beef after eating Nancy's delicious burger! Good luck in the contest and thanks for entering!

  2. My favorite is Pork Riblets. I have my own sauce I use they are great.


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