Fired Up by Female Pitmasters

Fired Up by Female Pitmasters
Share the food curiosity!

I realized today how inspired, motivated and proud to have rubbed shoulders with amazing women in BBQ! They have fired up my inspiration and I’m in complete awe of these strong, vibrant and gifted ladies! I am ever so thankful to have come across them!

Tootsie Tomanetz – Snow’s BBQ

How can one not be in awe of the physical and mental strength of an active 85 year old pitmaster? How can one not love the humility and grace when Tootsie says to you, “A little hard work never hurt anyone?” This is after you inhaled a giant plate of mouth watering barbecue and the best pinto beans ever? Yes, even the beans are good!

In 2013, Russell and I took a trip to Texas just to eat BBQ. Wow, did Texas brisket leave its mark. Snow’s BBQ left a lasting impression and triggered a change in my life. That same trip, we ordered a Texas pit to arrive on our driveway in the middle of winter and would start an incredible journey to become competitive BBQ cooks. Thank you Tootsie – for your hard work to make delicious BBQ that gathers people around the table.

Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Texas 2013

Danielle Bennett – DIVA Q

While Danielle was televised before I met her, she has a heart of gold and a passion for cooking. But she really opened my eyes when I met her cooking our first BBQ competition in 2014 in Edmonton, Alberta. Porkapalooza was cooked with wide eyes, furrowed eyebrows of “what do we do now” and overall huh??

After an introductory barbecue class with Rob Reinhardt (Prairie Smoke and Spice), I took advantage of his offer of help to all students. I peppered Rob with questions all weekend (and truthfully many many weekends following). (For this Rob, you receive an honorable mention on my Wall of Fame too, but I’m even happier to call you, my friend.) When it came to garnishing the turn in box on Saturday, I was not ready. I had plans to scour YouTube videos. Low and behold, at Rob’s tent, the esteemed DIVA Q sat socializing. I swallowed my pride and insanely asked if she would give me pointers to make a turn-in box. I was overjoyed and incredibly surprised when instead, Danielle offered to build WITH me, an entire garnish box. This was my first introduction to the open hearts that encompasses BBQ. Thank you Danielle for passionately sharing your cooks (and making us drool)! Thank you Danielle – for your enormous heart, supportive words and example you set in the BBQ family and community at large!

DIVAQ – Houston Rodeo Cookoff 2020

Saffron Hodgson – Bush Cooking

When Saffron Hodgson (pitmaster for Bush Cooking and principal at Food Sport Consulting) encouraged me multiple times to apply for an exclusive Women’s barbecue contest, I was too oblivious to understand what an incredible compliment it was.

I had met Saffron in 2014 in my first year of cooking at BBQ at the Bypass in Langley, BC. Russell and I were still learning what bark on BBQ was. After spending more time on the West Coast, I kept marveling at Saffron’s flurry of activity, involvement and passion for food sport. Then I realized she has literally travelled the world cooking. Saffron is an incredible trail blazer! You’ve given me new heights to climb, new trails to explore and so made me realize how much I like to cook! Thank you Saffron – for sharing you passion and encouraging me along my trail!

Saffron Hodgson – Bush Cooking

Sylvie Curry – Lady of Q

In 2016, at the World Food Championship in Orange Beach, Alabama, I was amused to see, Sylvie’s husband sporting a camo shirt labelled “Pit Bitch” . After driving a zillion miles from California he quietly supported Sylvie as she “just did her thing” cooking in the Fire and Ice Contest. This was my first competitive cook to watch female cooks in my peripheral, cook for a title. It was an incredible competitive environment all week. Sylvie is calm, excitable, and kicked butt that weekend. She finished 2nd in Fire and Ice and is an absolute rockstar on Netflix’s Barbecue Showdown (and I’m only on episode 5!!!). Every time I see Sylvie, my mouth goes dry and nerves kick in and I after asking permission to post a photo of her, she even remembers meeting me a few times. She’s got this “grace” thing. Thank you Sylvie – for gracefully cooking and holding your own to set an example of a true competitor in spirit and in action! Lady of Q

Sylvie Curry – Lady of Q on Netflix’s BBQ Showdown 2020

Kim Perry – Behind BBQ

On a “I want to prove something to myself” moment in 2018, I flew to Niagara Falls with a box of spice rubs and cooler to cook my first solo contest. Immediately welcomed by my friend, John Thomson (2017 Canadian National CBBQS), he introduced me to Kim from Behind BBQ. He relentlessly swooned over her Snickerdoodle cookies and went on and on about some Crack Pie. The weekend was an adventure: I slept at the Kia Kapsule Hotel (back of a Kia Santa Fe), desperately tried to keep meat cold (so, a humidex means hotter than h**) and tried to pick off the burnt flakes off my brisket before I turned it in. I was so consumed by my own heat wave of activity <haha>, it wasn’t until much later could I appreciate the genuine support and championing by a fellow competitor. Kim was the first, to post absolute support for me, another female cook. I didn’t even think of myself as a female cook until THEN! Thank you Kim – for supporting others with open arms and an unparalleled positive spirit!

Andrew and Kim Perry - Behind BBQ
Andrew and Kim Perry – Behind BBQ

To all these ladies, I am in awe. I am incredibly inspired by your passion and barbecue that we share in. Cheers to you for all that you are! I can’t wait to cook and share with you again!

Leave a Reply