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Create Cooking Challenge: My Family’s Recipe Winners Announced

Public television leading chefs select two new hosts: America’s newest cooking sensations coming to

BOSTON, June 1, 2022—American Public Television (APT), the original home to public television’s culinary experts and sponsor of the Create Cooking Challenge: My Family’s Recipe, announced today that two new digital hosts have been selected to join the ranks of America’s top food celebrities. Selected from a nationwide pool of more than 100 entries by judges who are among public television’s best known chefs, Adam Lambay of St. Louis, Missouri, has won the Grand Prize, receiving $4,000 and production equipment valued at $1,000 to finance and produce a web series of 10 two-minute videos to appear on Second Prize Winner, Dennis Perez, of Tampa, Florida, was awarded $1,000 and production equipment valued at $1,000 to finance and produce a web series of three, two-minute videos for Distributed and produced by APT, The WNET Group and GBH Boston, Create® is a national channel carried by 241 local public television stations and features the best of public television’s content in the genres of food, travel, home & garden, arts & crafts, fitness and lifestyle.

Judging the Create Cooking Challenge, which ran March 8 –April 5, was a panel of some of public television’s most recognized hosts: Kevin Belton (Kevin Belton’s Cookin’ Louisiana), Pati Jinich (Pati’s Mexican Table), Diane Kochilas (My Greek Table), Nick Stellino (Storytellers in the Kitchen), and Martin Yan (Yan Can Cook!). Entrants’ online submissions included a short (two minutes or less), original video featuring their recipe’s preparation, a brief narrative about the origins of their recipe, the full recipe and a photo of the finished dish. Judging criteria included demonstrated culinary knowledge, presentation skills, telegenic appeal, unique ideas and production values. This year’s entrants presented multi-generational recipes originating from more than 25 different countries and cultural traditions, as well as American-grown recipes representing nearly 35 regions of the country. The winners’ recipes, as well as many select entries and some shared by the judges will appear in Create’s new Heritage Recipe Collection at

Grand Prize Winner, Adam Lambay
There was never any question in Adam Lambay’s mind that he would someday be a chef. In fact, when Adam was about 10 years old, he told his mother he wanted to be “one of those guys in a white coat.” She thought he meant he wanted to be a doctor. He quickly corrected her saying, “No! I want to be a chef!” His early goal clearly set, Adam’s dream never changed. His entire career has been dedicated to culinary arts, and today he is executive chef at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark, with a storied resume of positions at high-end restaurants throughout Greater St. Louis and the surrounding area.

A native of St. Louis, Adam only left his hometown once to attend culinary school in Louisville, Kentucky. Upon graduation, he returned to St. Louis, the community he loves, and where he plays a vibrant role as a chef, cooking instructor, and busy husband and father to two children. Adam’s family has lived in the St. Louis community for more than 50 years. His father’s brothers first emigrated from the family home located in a fishing village near Mumbai, India. Adam’s dad soon followed, eager to do something new and to be near his brothers. He quickly met and married, Adam’s mother, the grand-daughter of first generation German immigrants. Upon arriving in St. Louis between World Wars I and II, Adam’s great-grandparents opened a successful bakery in downtown St. Louis. At home, Adam’s dad cooked recipes based on his Indian upbringing, while his maternal grandmother prepared family recipes based on her German heritage.

Adam says public television played a major role in his desire to become a chef. He grew up watching cooking shows, saying he could never get enough. He credits Julia Child and other culinary hosts as great influences, but says the series “Yan Can Cook!” (at more than 40 years, the longest-running cooking show on television!) was a favorite. Martin Yan, one of the chefs on this year’s Create Cooking Challenge judges’ panel, commented that he not only thought Adam presented a “good video all around,” but that he also “demonstrated solid technical skills and did an outstanding job in presenting the recipe for his dish.” In fact, several of the judges commented on the great job that Adam did in engaging the viewer in his video. Diane Kochilas mentioned that the personal stories were “nice” and offered a “human touch,” while Nick Stellino said he was impressed at “how well” Adam taught viewers Pati Jinich repeatedly praised how well he walked the viewer through an Indian dish, “describing it in familiar terms so we all know what he is talking about.” She also was impressed by how knowledgeable he is about all the ingredients he uses. She and Kevin Belton both said they can’t wait to try his recipe, which is called Moka with Pupper, described by Adam as “scrambled eggs with an Indian twist.”

Adam is committed to focusing his digital series on “Indian-inspired” recipes representing a sort of “fusion with recipes that are more familiar to the standard diner.” He says they will not be overly “hot,” and instead will make use of spices and aromatics to make each dish more accessible to the average home cook.

Second Prize Winner, Dennis Perez
By day, Create Cooking Challenge: My Family’s Recipe Second Prize Winner Dennis Perez of Tampa, Florida, works in IT and manages software development teams. Away from his computer, however, Dennis is in the kitchen tinkering with recipes and recording videos or, in the outdoors pursuing his other passions: hiking and archery.

Whether inside the kitchen, at his computer, or slinging arrows downfield, Dennis is focused on what he loves to do, and he sharing these skills is important to him. Dennis was raised in a multi-generational setting, with family that spent more time in the kitchen than any other room in the house. His family first settled in New York after leaving Cuba and after many years, made their way to Tampa, where they live now. He said that in his family, you “grew up in the kitchen” as it was the heart of their home and that “love was expressed through food.” His winning video, Cuban Picadillo, received high praise from the judges. Diane Kochilas said she found Dennis to be “very engaging” saying she learned something from his stories, while Nick Stellino was eager to see Dennis host a series. Pati Jinich and Kevin Belton both praised his work in holding the interest of the viewers with interesting camera shots and the tips for substitutions in his recipe.

Coming to
As work begins on both winners’ series, it is anticipated that they will premiere by the Fall. Now in its fourth year, the Create Cooking Challenge had nearly 110 video submissions from across the country, with viewers participating from more than 60 local public television markets. In addition to the two top prizes, 16 prizes were awarded to entrants from local Create stations and public television markets in New York, California, Wisconsin, Florida, Washington, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Arizona. A full list of all 18 contest winners, their video entry and their hometown may be found below, while their videos, recipes and local station information may be found at

Create Cooking Challenge: My Family’s Recipe additional winners, their recipe, hometown and link to entry:

3 - Andrew Tasakos, Pork Souvlaki
Shoreline, WA

4 - Carolyn Gloria, Pan de Polvo,
Round Rock, TX

5 - Cyndy Cecil, Grandma Cecil's Eclair Pie,
Dobbs Ferry, NY

6 - Donna Cianciola with Diane Delia, Sicilian Artichokes 2 Ways: Gourmet or Good Enough,
Nottingham, MD and Shaker Heights, OH

7 - Cliff Pelloni, Pelloni Family Easter Dish: Afflataa,
Roswell, GA

8 - Tristan Heath, Varenyky (Blueberry Dumplings),
Mechanicsville, VA
9 - Grace Vallo (Bianco), Lobster Puff Pastry Tart ("Adult" Lobster Roll),
Salem, NH

10 - Daniel Torrez, Beef Enchiladas,
Verona, WI

11 - Stefania Lanzafame, Scacciata Siciliana di Cipollina (Sicilian Scacciata with Chives),
St. Cloud, FL

12 - Vincent Williams, Pineapple Coconut Cake,
Stonecrest, GA

13 - Susan Seger, Yiayia's Savaren,
Newport Beach, CA

14 - Kurt Bantilan, Ube (Purple Yam) Doughnuts,
Jackson Heights, NY

15 - Edward Cunje, Sous Vide Guyanese Beef Curry,
Phoenix, AZ

16 - Michael Angel Loayza, Jr., Papa a la Huancaína (Peruvian-style potato salad),
West Caldwell, NJ

17 - Tamisa Covington, Hearty Black Eyed Peas and Kale Soup,
Bloomfield, NJ

18 - Nova Sasi, Nam Tok,
Chicago, IL

Sponsored by American Public Television. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to legal residents of the fifty United States, the District of Columbia and U. S. Territories. Age 18 years or over. Began 3/8/22 at 12:01 a.m. ET; ended 4/5/22 at 11:59 p.m. ET. For the complete Official Rules, visit where prohibited by law.

About Create:
Now in its 17th year, Create® is the premier lifestyle channel featuring public television’s most popular how-to series, focused on food, travel, home & garden, arts & crafts, fitness, and lifestyle. Create is produced and distributed by American Public Television (APT); The WNET Group (New York); and GBH Boston, in association with National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) and PBS. Create TV is carried by 241 local public television stations nationwide, reaching more than 83% of USTVHH, and is seen in 21 of the top 25 U.S. television markets. Create’s companion website features extensive video, the Create TV schedule, program and host information.

Jamie Haines: (617) 962-5604

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