Welcome Back, Devon Delaney and a #giveaway

Welcome back to the blog, Devon Delaney, who’s just released Double Chocolate Cookie Murder, the fifth book in her Cook-Off Mystery Series. Devon is giving away a copy of her new book to one lucky commenter below.

Here’s the blurb

Sherry Oliveri is used to competing in cook-offs, but this time she’s serving as a judge. The upside is that she gets to taste all the contestants’ cookies. The downside is that one of the bakers will wind up dead . . .
It’s the long Thanksgiving weekend, and between cooking for her family and working her dad’s store for Black Friday, Sherry has a full plate. Next, she has to judge the big cookie contest—and among the many entrants is her old high school home ec teacher, Mr. Currier.
For old time’s sake, Sherry invites him over for dinner, although sadly, the reunion will be short-lived. The next day, the prizes at the bake-off go missing—and later turn up at the marina, along with her ex-teacher’s body. Now Sherry has to find out who would do such a thing . . .
Includes Recipes from Sherry’s Kitchen!

One of the things we love about Devon’s books is that she really lives in the world in which her stories are set. She’s a real-life competitive cook.

Take it away, Devon!

Next month I’m competing in the National Mushroom Cook-off held at the mushroom capital of the United States, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. This month the sixth book in my cooking competition murder mystery series was released. I’m not anticipating a murder at the cook-off, but I am looking forward to collecting more fodder for my series. As a finalist I’m privy to behind-the-scenes situations the audience my never be aware of. It’s up to me to choose whether any organizational snafu or competitor tension may be the foundation for my next mystery plot.  

I’d tell you the title and ingredients of the recipe I’m competing with but because of pre-contest confidentiality agreements, well, you know I’d have to kill you. Just kidding. I’m willing to divulge my recipe to anyone who asks. I like to think I’ve created a recipe unlike others and one that got the judges attention for all the right reasons. If someone wants to abscond with my secret formula for a possible winning mushroom recipe then so be it. That scenario has played out in the cooking contest world. One cook may have made their recipe too well known before the contest entry date and voila an identical recipe showed up in the contest. Hard to know which recipe was conceived first but the problem was one of the cooks involved was very prolific in cook-off winning circles. A David and Goliath situation. It’s easy to understand how years of competing broadened my imagination, somewhat darkly on occasion.

Back to my mushroom cook-off. The contest has one terribly important constraint. The rules specify, five ingredients or less. The only free ingredients are salt, pepper and water. AND! The recipe must be prepared in thirty minutes or less. Thank you, COVID. I attribute these handcuffing constraints to you. The contest officials don’t want too many people hanging around bunched up together for too long. The good news is I love tight constraints in contests. I love mushrooms. I was the grand prize winner four years ago, so I am wise to the ways of the mushroom cook-off.

Having just written this last paragraph my mind immediately races to, wouldn’t I make a fine victim should someone want to eliminate the person perceived as the stiffest competition. Yes, should I mysteriously disappear, I’d be replaced by a reserve, that is quite common. Well, wish me luck. I’m going in with an open mind to cook relaxed while noting any unusual behavior by the cooks next to me. Hope I can stay focused on the tasks at hand. The competition is stiff. Defending my past title could take more than just a great recipe, if you know what I mean.

Readers: Does the world of competitive cooking appeal to you? Do you watch any cooking shows on TV? Answer the question in the comments or just say “hi” to be entered to win a copy of Double Chocolate Cookie Murder!

Devon Delaney

79 Thoughts

  1. Congrats on your book release. I used to watch cooking shows and I did enjoy them. I haven’t watched the competitive ones though.

  2. I give you alot of credit! You’ll do great. Love the series AND the covers are beautiful!

  3. I used to watch cooking shows all the time but not any more. I’ve never watch any of the competitive shows but I like reading about them. Thank you for a chance at your giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com

    1. Cook-off are bit different than cooking competition TV shows but there’s an audience for them all that’s for sure!

  4. I’ve always thought it’s a great premise for a book, Devon! And especially with mushroom…ooh, the possibilities are endless. (Also, you should get with Maya Corrigan – she writes the Five-Ingredient Mysteries!)

  5. Competitive cooking shows draw me like a moth to a flame, however I would not like to compete. I get anxious watching others cook and can only imagine what I would belike if I did compete. Thanks for acknowleging Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. I’ve visited there and found it to be a quaint town.

  6. I used to watch cooking shows on TV, but admittedly I lost interest when it seemed to become more about having a competition about it rather than the simple act of making food.

    The notion that somehow Gordon Ramsay is a “star” when his biggest attribute seems to be that he’s a gaping a-hole is annoying.

    1. I might agree there are way too many cooking battle shows on. The cook-offs I compete in are all on location and full of wonderfully nice home cooks.

  7. Congrats on the new release, Devon and best of luck in your upcoming competition! I’ve watched Chopped a bit, but my fave is the Great British Baking Show. Those of you who can bake and cook under competitive conditions are wizards in my book!

    1. Thanks! Miss seeing you guys at Malice! We’ll see if I’ve still got there magic this weekend at the mushroom cook-off! ahhhh!

  8. Congrats on the new release! I have watched Chopped! on more than one occasion. I used to watch Iron Chef all the time, more for the crazy ingredients than the competition. Over the summer, my sister introduced me to Crime Scene Kitchen. The contestants have to find the clues in the kitchen, interpret them, and make the correct dish. And I love Beat Bobby Flay (because he’s so genuinely happy when the amateur does best him).

      1. It is on FOX. Season One ended in July. I don’t know if you can stream it (well, if you have Hulu Premium or YouTubeTV you can). No word on Season 2, but nothing on cancelation either.

  9. Best of luck in your cooking competition! I love to watch the cook offs on television, especially the holiday ones! Halloween treats, Christmas confections – those are wonderful!

    1. Thank you! I admit I’m a fan of those shows when I have time to follow them in their entirety. I’ve gotten some good ideas from them, too!

  10. I used to watch some non competitive cooking shows years ago. Then my husband liked Iron Chef and we watched it for a while. Now we don’t watch any.
    Congratulations on your new book and Good Luck in your mushroom contest.

  11. Welcome back! Your cover is beautiful. I love watching cooking competition shows on The Food Network. It’s a little weird because I don’t like to cook. Good luck with the competition and book!

    1. Thanks and yes, the covers are the best! Thank you Kensington artists! So funny that you love the shows and don’t like to cook. Kind of like me watching golf. Love to watch, hate to play bc I’m so bad! haha

  12. I enjoy watching cooking shows and get great tips from them. 5 ingredients is something I would enjoy preparing! Love your new book cover Devon!

    1. Five ingredients was so limiting but apparently they liked my recipe enough to choose it for the finals. We’ll see. Thanks and I hope you like the book!

  13. LOVE to cook/bake! Also love the cooking channels and watch a lot of the competitions.

    I have entered competitions before with sad results. Maybe it’s because we are in a smaller area where a lot of times the good ole boys always seem to come out on top, but after watching the judging, I wasn’t very impressed. I’m not a sore loser and wen into it with no real hopes of winning (did it just for fun), but when a food competition judging only lasts for 5 minutes for 40 entries and nothing was tasted, it just didn’t set right with me. I know presentation is part of the judging, but isn’t the food suppose to taste worthy of eating? So for me, I’ll stick to sharing the bounty of the kitchen with people that seem to enjoy it – at least the plates all come back empty. 🙂

    Good luck in your mushroom entry and hopefully you will be judged on ingredients, skill in preparation and presentation and most of all in the TASTE!

    Congratulations on the release of ” Double Chocolate Cookie Murder”! It’s on my TBR list and can’t wait to read it. Appreciate the chance to win a copy. Shared and hoping to be the very fortunate one selected.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Thank you so much. Amazing how many stories there are out there about cooking comps. You can see why it’s a pretty good premise! Try another contest, you’ll crush it.

  14. Hi
    Competitive anything gives me a lot of anxiety, so no, I don’t watch those shows. I love non-competitive cooking shows however. Hoping you share your recipe in a future post. Best of luck!

  15. Hi, I used to watch the competitive cooking shows, I liked them better back in the day when it didn’t seem so much show business. I like more of the regional type contests now.

    1. So much show business, you’re right. I love the local and the national cook-offs. I just love cook0offs I guess!

  16. Congratulations on the new release. FYI, I tried to eat your cover, just sayin.

    I loved watching iron chef. Haven’t kept up with others as my cable company made The Food Network an add on – rats. Competitive cooking sounds like a wonderful, fun, world to watch in person. Good luck with the mushrooms.

  17. I like Chopped and the Spring/Halloween/Holiday Baking Championship. I’m glad it’s time for Halloween Wars. I also like watching the gingerbread building competitions.

  18. I am hooked on the TV show “Chopped “, so I know I would love this series!

    1. I understand. It may be on my bucket list (not saying for sure) and then I’d have to step up to the plate. In the mean time I, too, like to watch the drama!

    1. I’m sure you are in the majority. You’ve just given me a good idea for a competitor who really doesn’t enjoy cooking! Quick – must make a note! Thanks!

  19. I don’t watch cooking TV shows, but I can see how the competitions would be perfect for murder. I really need to start this series.

  20. Hi Congratulations on your new release and Good Luck on your cooking competition, sounds like alot of fun! Your book sounds like a great read and I love the title and the cover! Yes, I always used to watch cooking shows, and I loved them. I can cook up some pretty good things but for sure not good enough for competitions, it is good enough form my family so that makes me happy. Have a great week and stay safe. God bless you and your family.

  21. I have never cared for the competition cooking shows. Used to love Julia Child and other local (Boston at the time) cooking shows where one could really learn something about cooking.

    I love the Kennett Sq. Mushroom Festival. Most interesting thing I tried there was mushroom ice cream. As I said, interesting. Looking forward to reading Double Chocolate Cookie Mystery.

  22. Not sure mushroom ice cream is my thing. I promise there is no ice cream in my recipe. I do hope you enjoy the book, it was so fun to write.

  23. Congrats on your new release. I’m looking forward to reading the book. I love watching cooking competitions on TV, like Chopped and Guy’s Grocery Games to name a few. I like watching, but I wouldn’t like competing, I don’t know how the chefs can figure what to make with some of ingredients they give them, but it’s fun to watch.

    1. I understand. I think I can do it when I’m watching the show on my couch but in reality – yikes! In cook-offs we know what we are cooking and have practiced as much as we want to.

  24. There have been a couple of Hallmark movies based on cookoffs/cooking competitions. There would be too stressful for me to participate in so I’ll just keep to reading about them or watching the movies. Good luck on defending your title.

  25. For me it’s a good amount of stress and adrenaline. One day I may not like that but so far, so good. Thanks so much!

  26. Good luck on your mushroom cook-off. Sounds Yummy! I watch all of those cook off shows. My husband (he is the better cook) and I both watch them. A new one we saw was about tasting and smelling a dish and tell what is in it. Very unique.

  27. Congrats on the new book! Occasionally I’ll watch a cooking competition. My favorite was actually the Gingerbread competition held in Asheville, NC, they used to air it on either HGTV or the Travel Channel. I had no idea that Kennett Square was the mushroom capital of the US, but I’ve always wanted to go to Longwood Gardens.

    1. Longwoods Gardens is right there! Beautiful countryside. That’s the beauty of cook-off, seeing the different venues and meeting the people. Love it!

  28. Good luck with the contest. I do not watch much television. I have caught glimpses of Trisha Yearwood’s show. I have not sat down to watch an episode. Thank you for sharing. I love the cover of your new book.

  29. Congrats on your book! So excited to read it! I do enjoy watching Chopped. Some of the Hallmark movies have the baking competition in them. Love watching those! Thanks for the chance!

  30. Congrats on your new release. I used to enjoy watching cooking shows a lot but had to stop due to lack of time. Last show I was really into was Chopped.

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