SIDNEY — Three area chefs will select winners of the 34th annual Sidney Daily News Harvest-Holiday Cookbook Cook-Off when finalists take their prepared dishes to the cook-off Sept. 29 at the Crossroads in Hardin.
Robert Schmiesing, executive chef of Fair Haven; Misty Shroyer, cafeteria manager of Sidney City Schools; and Gary Strasser, manager of Clancy’s in Sidney will consider four entries in each of six categories before selecting category winners and a grand prize winner.
Judges representing each business that has sponsored a category prize will evaluate entries in the appropriate categories, as well.
Strasser, of Anna, has probably always had a passion for cooking food. He started working at Borden Burger in Bellefontaine at 16. After two and a half years there, he moved to an area McDonald’s for a management position. Following that, he managed a Wendy’s for 14 and a half years. For the last 20 years, he has managed the Clancy’s in Sidney. But being a manager rather than a chef doesn’t mean he doesn’t know his way around a kitchen. He learned how to cook by watching and helping his mother, Tina, and got helpful tips from his wife, Elisa. He stole recipes from both. Strasser learned to prepare food for large groups by making meals at St. Jacob Lutheran Church in Anna. He expanded his cooking interests and horizons through cooking demonstrations at Amos Memorial Public library during their summer programs. That knowledge inspired international meals at Clancy’s.
A Fort Loramie native, Schmiesing, now of Minster, earned an associate degree in culinary arts in 2003 from Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky. While he was in Louisville, he worked in the kitchens of the famous Seelbach Hilton hotel. From there, he became room chef at the Hollywood Casino in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. He served as executive chef of J. Marie’s Wood Fired Kitchen in Wapakoneta, and joined the staff of Fair Haven in 2017.
It was Shroyer’s mother and grandparents who taught Shroyer how to cook. She began using her talents during a three-hour-per-day job in the kitchen of a nursing home.
“I started just doing what I could do,” she said. “I paid attention. I listened.” Eventually, she was promoted to head cook. She served as kitchen manager there for 10 years and joined the cafeteria staff of Sidney City Schools in 2014. She worked at Sidney Middle School and is now head cook at Sidney High School and cafeteria manager of all the schools in the district. It is her repsonsibility to design meal menus while adhering to strict government guidelines.
“I liked working with the elderly and I like working with the kids, making sure they have a healthy meal,” she said.
To participate in this contest, home cooks have until 5 p.m., Aug. 31, to submit up to three recipes in each of the following six categories: main dishes; desserts; scrumptious sides; pastabilities; carry-in faves; and holiday traditions.
All recipes must be typed or clearly hand-printed. They must include the names of the dishes, the categories they’re submitted in, complete lists of ingredients and instructions, and the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of the submitters.
Emailed recipes are preferred and can be sent to SDNrecipes@sidneydailynews.com. Recipes in hard copy can be mailed or delivered to the Sidney Daily News, 1451 N. Vandemark Road, Sidney, OH 45365.
For information, call 937-538-4824.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.