Fanny Wins!

After competing against almost 1,000 budding cookbook authors, multiple cooking challenges and developing dozens of recipes, our daughter Fanny Slater has won the Rachael Ray Great American Cookbook CompetitionWow. 

How did she succeed? 

Persistence. Passion. Trust.

Recipe for Success
Fanny always had an enduring belief that the stars were aligning to support her. Both Ra El and I kept telling her to be present and enjoy the moments. No matter what happened, she needed to fully enjoy the experience since these kinds of big life-affirming moments don’t show up every day. 

Ra El, in ways that only she can do, provided Fanny with a deeper, soul-filled understanding of what was happening.  She showered Fanny with golden spirited light as Fanny leaped into her destiny. Ever since Fanny was a child, Ra El could see a vision of this day coming into being and Ra El held her hand to the finish line. 

Fanny had regular Aloha pep talks from her big sister Sarah from Hawaii who was with her every step of the way. With her calming presence, Sarah reminded Fanny to breathe, stretch and to seize the moment. Although six thousand miles away, she held her hand through this journey.

With Tony by her side, Fanny had love and support every day to cheer her on. He too has helped her stay focused and remain grounded. He also fed Olive when she traveled to New York. When told of Fanny's victory Olive exclaimed meow and do I get to meet Rachael's dog Isaboo? 

Fanny's BFF Sara, AKA Lamb Chops was also rooting Fanny on everyday. In fact, I'm told she is  standing on her head until the winner is announced. (she was recently certified as a yoga instructor). 

Fanny learned about the competition from my Mom Bea, who regularly watched The Rachael Ray Show. Since food was always special in the house I grew up in New Jersey, this connection between my Mom and Fanny fills me with tears of joy. 

As you can imagine, Mom has been bursting with excitement and for the last four weeks as she wrote texts on her iPhone and posted Facebook messages to everyone in the world who may not have known about her granddaughter who carries her mother's namesake.

Beyond the immediate family, Fanny has been cheered on both her extended family, cousins, aunts, uncles, a community of Facebook followers,everyone who lives in Wilmington, N.C. and her friends from Ravenscroft, Peace College, Margaux's and her posse from L.A. 

Thanks to everyone for their support. 

Behind the scenes
At the very last moment, we were given 4 tickets to watch the final reveal on air. My wife Ra El, 87 year-old mom Bea and Fanny’s boyfriend Tony all got to watch as Fanny won. When Rachael pulled back the cover on the giant poster, confetti guns went off and I nearly fell off my chair. 

It was a nerve-racking experience and one that was unlike anything else I have experienced even with our own TV appearances in the 80’s and 90’s when Rachel’s Brownies was our day job. 

Fanny's 'Tin Foil Surprise' recipe was prepared by 3 celebrity chefs and their families. The chef's included the Cake Boss' Buddy Valastro, celebrity chef and restaurateur Scott Conant and Top Chef Richard Blais. They were the judges who evaluated Fanny's spin on the breakfast surprise I made for her and Sarah when our girls were little. 

We got to meet Lauren Kudlawiec, Fanny’s competitor in the finals who was a very talented woman who I think also has great potential too. Her family from Johnston, Pennsylvania also got to watch on stage too.

We also got to meet Rachael and the incredible team that supports her to put on the show. What an amazing group of talented individuals all of whom loved Fanny and expressed grace and professionalism every step along the path.

When the giant poster revealed Fanny had won, all I remember is a red streak charging the stage. It was my Mom, who jumped up and screamed and ran onto the stage to hug Fanny. I jumped up to try and hold her so she wouldn't trip on the camera cables. I don’t remember anything else as it was all somewhat of a blur of exhilaration. 

I watched the show with Fanny while eating a 'tin foil' breakfast special she made for me. As we watched, I saw that Ra El must have magically transported herself to be with Fanny before all of us. The 15 seconds were like a stream of consciousness. Confetti, confusion and a 'soon to be' cookbook! 

Fanny Slater - Winner of the Great American Cookbook Competition
What is next?
Fanny will be working with Atria, Rachael Ray’s imprint and she will start working on her cookbook.  She will work harder in the coming year than she has in her life but she will be doing what she loves AND what she is good at doing. If you haven't already, sign up for regular updates about Fanny's journey on her blog

And now it is time to get your Fanny in the kitchen. 

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