Julie & Julia: A Winner!


Okay, so 274 comments…and I had to pick ONE.

That’s like picking a favorite.

Do you know how much therapy would have been needed if I had to choose ONE favorite reader?

Sorry, but my insurance doesn’t cover that!

So I asked someone on Twitter to help me out. That someone is @ksiddiqi92, a 17 year old high-school student and food blogger (born and raised in NYC) pursing his passion for food and writing. When I twweeted, “I need help!” Kamran came to the rescue. Check out his food blog, The Sophisticated Gourmet.

Anyways, I asked him to pick his top 10 from the pool (gave him no rules, other than read each and every comment and use best judgement)…and here is his list (no particular order):

1. Alejandra Ramos- Always Order Dessert
2. Gary Novosel – Food Medic
3. Lorna Yee- The Cookbook Chronicles
4. Angela- Spinach Tiger
5. Oyster Food and Culture
6. Kelly- Barbaric Gulp
7. Megan Blocker – Queenie Takes Manhattan
8. Rebecca Lindamood- Foodie With Family
9. Kelley Smith- Snapshot Photo Blog
10. Nicole Aloni

And then I asked on Twitter for a random number between 1 and 10…and @dlayphoto was the first to reply at Mon 06 Jul 19:15 ….and chose #6!

So Ms. Kelly at Barbaric Gulp…congrats!

Kelly wrote:

“Hope I’m not too late to add my name!

Julie & Julia is the book that inspired ME to start cooking (and blogging). I’d just separated from my husband and was living alone for the first time in 13 years. I was reading Powell’s book and was so inspired by her. Without cable or Internet at home, I started cooking at least one new recipe each week. Since then, I got a part-time job teaching cooking classes at a small cooking school in St. Louis. I’ve also gotten into the foodie/blogger world more, locally and nationally (I’m attending the BlogHer in Chicago later this month). Cooking is my passion, my therapy, my tool for living the good life.

I’d LOVE to go on this trip!

Sounding My Barbaric Gulp!

Kelly started food blogging 2 years ago…and now she teaches cooking classes in St. Louis at the Kitchen Conservatorycome read her story!


Edit 11:57pm Alright guys, apparently when you have something so cool to give away and only one winner, it’s inevitable that feelings will get hurt there will be sore losers. If I would have chosen the winner myself, I would have been accused of playing favorites. So I let Kamran read each and every comment, follow through to their blogs and choose his top 10. He also took in account blogger support and took his job very seriously. I agreed with his top 10 favs and called out for a random number on Twitter, which is the absolute most fair way to get a random number. It’s in real-time. So, if you’re pissed about not winning, I’ll tell you the same thing I tell my 4 and 5 year old…the pouting corner is currently available, and it’s around the corner where I can’t see you. ~jaden

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Comments 56

  1. Tangled Noodle

    Congratulations, Kelly! Have a fantastic time and I look forward to reading about your experience.

    And congratulations to the top 10! Now I have some new blogs to read . . .

  2. Rebecca (foodie With Family)

    Woot! Woot! Kelly! I’m so excited to read/watch what you do out there. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t go… I might’ve accosted people on the red carpet and made them look at pictures of my kids!

    …And a hearty congrats to the rest of the Top 10 crew. Whaddya’ll say we get together and have some virtual tea?

  3. Meg

    Congrats, Kelly! Have an awesome time in L.A. – can’t wait to hear all about it!

    And many thanks for this awesome giveaway, Jaden – supremely cool of you.

  4. Vanessa

    why not just pick #1? Such a weird way to pick someone…

    Because I didn’t want one person to be choosing the winner. More fair this way instead of playing favorites. ~j

  5. Maria R.

    Congrats, Kelly! You’re going to have a ball – I can’t wait to read your posts! Thanks, Jaden, this has been great fun.

  6. Oysterculture

    Congrat Kelly – what an exciting opportunity. I look forward to reading all about it!

    Jaden, what a great idea – thanks for thinking of it, it was a lot of fun to participate!

  7. Debbie

    I dont think that your way of chosing a winner was as you originally said it. I went to all the blogs of your nominees and the best one were definitely, I#1 Alejandra and #3 Lorna

    Anyway Ms. Kelly congratulations

    Best based on what criteria…yours? Because I doubt your criteria matches mine. ~jaden

  8. Jen Yu

    What is WRONG with you people?! Jaden doesn’t owe you JACK and yet you are being such ungracious assholes about the whole thing. GROW THE HELL UP AND GET SOME MANNERS. Sheesh. Jaden, more power to you and I’m sorry people are such ungrateful wankers. Kelly, have a great time and safe travels.

  9. Rich G.


    Fun prize and no chance of you being called as cherry picking the winner there. Looked impartial and fair to me. Nicely done and looking forward to the next contest!

  10. Janet

    Congrats to a well deserved winner! I can’t wait to read all about it!

    Wow… I am blown away at the audacity some people have to complain. A fabulous gal decides to do us a random act of kindness, and gets slapped in the face. It further proves that those who complained didn’t deserve to win in the first place…

    Jaden, you’re one fabulous chica!

  11. Gary @foodmedic

    And here I was excited to be surrounded by a list of foodie hotties and not being excluded from the list because I was a guy 😉

    ==> points to Jen Yu for saying what my alter ego wanted to say. (I own you and Jaden a Margarita, btw) I did, however, take the time to make a couple of “negative talking people but I wasn’t in the contest myself voodoo dolls” out of marshmallows. Small marshmallows. Small like people who make little comments. I’d post a picture, but I already burned them on the grill.

    I’m a Texas boy, go figure…

    I probably wouldn’t have behaved well on the airplane anyway.

  12. Jen

    I 2nd Jen Yu’s comment! Grow Up! this isn’t kindergarden…although it’s starting to sound like it.

    Jaden – that’s a fantastic and amazing opportunity you offered and I hope that the few losers won’t sour you on future goodies! You rock!!

  13. Esi

    Congrats to the winner! I may be going to the screening on my own so it would be fun to meet. Can’t wait to read the write up. Sore losers be damned!

  14. alice

    Although I was hoping Seattle’s own Lorna Yee would win, Congrats to Kelly. I hope you have a wonderful time and am looking forward to your report.

  15. Allen

    OMG – just taking my evening stroll around the internet and stumbled upon this *scandal* 🙂 Seriously people, why do you spend your time and energy is such a negative way.

    Congrats to Kelly!!! Such an amazing opportunity – can hardly wait to hear all about it!

  16. Anne B.

    Congratulations Kelly!

    Jaden, thank you for everything you do…..your site is informative, witty and down-right fun!!!!…never let the turkeys get you down!

  17. Fuji Mama

    Congrats Kelly! I can’t wait to read all about it! And Jaden, thanks, I now have a new line to use with my kids…I LOVE that bit about the pouting corner!

  18. Lisa

    I’m totally installing a pouting corner in my house! No, two, No, THREE pouting corners! What an awesome idea. Wait, is this on topic?

  19. Kelley Smith

    Hehehehe “a pouting corner”. You rock Jaden!
    Got get em’ Kelly!
    In the words of all Oscar nominees in history “it was an honor to be nominated.”
    That’s about as close as I’ll get to an Oscar too! sigh…..
    But keep me in mind if they goof up and sent TWO tickets!

  20. Ginger

    I know Kelly! She is absolutely deserving of something so nice! She is a really good friend, a great teacher and a wonderful cook! I wish her the absolute best!
    This is wonderful Kelly!!!! You deserve this wonderful gift!

  21. Eugene Smolenskiy

    “called out for a random number on Twitter, which is the absolute most fair way to get a random number”

    Someone needs a crash course in number theory. Asking a group of people to pick a random number is one of the *worst* ways to get randomness. Do an experiment and see how many 7s you come back with. If it was truly random, the distribution would be more even.


  22. deeba

    Congrats Kelly!!! I’m thrilled for you!You so deserve this. I love Kamrans’ blog too. He’s doing a wonderful job at 17! YAY!!

  23. Kristin

    WOW. Congrats Kelly! You deserve it! I’m excited to see the movie and read about your trip!

    Jen YuProps for coming right out and saying what we’re all thinking.

    JadenWhat a generous prize, and a tough choice. You did everything you could to handle this diplomatically. Don’t stress over the whiners … they just make themselves look bad.

  24. Alejandra

    Honestly, I’ve been reading over all of this and I take issue with the characterization as “sore losers” of people who have expressed their disappointment or questioned the process. It is absolutely natural for people to be upset about not winning (whether personally or not having the person they were rooting for win). It happens all the time, and while yes, it’s important to be gracious, I don’t think it’s fair to expect people to just be happy when they’re not. I has nothing to do with the qualifications of the winner. Kelly is great and I know shell do a fantastic job. Any of the 10 would have. But it’s normal and totally human to be upset when things dont go the way you hoped or planned. The beauty of the blogging community is that we can all express our opinions and thoughts freely, without any fear of retribution. The feelings of the people who are excited by the outcome are no less valid than those of the people who are upset.

    In this case, I honestly think that people were surprised by how the winner was ultimately selected, and that is *all* that they are trying to say. While I understand that, given the time span and the amount of entries, it was an overwhelming task, many of us were under the impression that the winner was going to be selected by Jaden (whom we all love and respect) based on what we wrote and on the list of characteristics that she was looking for. That is, after all, what was stated at the beginning of the contest. Nowhere was it mentioned that a third party would be allowed to choose the finalists (or that there would even be finalists) and that the final winner would be chosen at random. We’re not saying that Kamran wasn’t qualified; it just seemed to be a last-minute decision that affected the outcome of something we’d all been pretty invested in over the course of the previous 30 hours. Jaden explained why she chose this method and it absolutely makes sense given the circumstances, but I think peoples expectations were just slightly different. It’s the difference between, for example, a pie baking contest that’s judged on something you “do” and a drawing that’s left up to chance. You expect different things because you know you can contribute to the outcome of one, but not the other. This, it seems, was somewhere in between.

    In this case, could it have been conducted better? Definitely, but what *cant* be improved? Even the most delicious banana bread ever can be even better with a handful of chocolate chips! I think for what it was, it was great. It was an incredible opportunity, and really fantastic of you to give it to us. And I was floored by the incredible support that I got from my readers and friends and even some random people that found me just by reading the comments. Im sure the other contestants feel the same way.

  25. Tracy

    Congratulations to Kelly. I look forward to attending the event vicariously through your report!

    Jaden, thanks for the opportunity to enter — without your generous offer, most of us had NO chance of going. But it was awfully fun thinking about the possibility.

    I’m off to pout about really serious things like whose fault it is I never win the Powerball jackpot….

  26. Judy

    Congrats to Kelly!!! You’ll do a great job and I can’t wait to read all about it.

    And I am with Peter- “to those that didnt win, suck it up. ;)”

  27. stan

    Congrats to Kelly! Can’t wait to read your report.

    As to all the bitching and moaning from the sore losers. It seems pretty obvious to me that the content of everyone’s comment as well as their blog was taken into account when selecting 10 finalists. Whether it was Jaden, or someone else, making the selections should not be that important if your comment and/or blog had quality content. Otherwise it would just be a popularity contest for who can get the most friends to add a comment of support.

    From an impartial observer, I would say that the 17 year old got the top 3 blogs exactly right (although not in the order I would have put them in.)

    To geokaren, who states, “the contest sucked.” You may have had many friends add comments for you, but your blog is pathetic not worthy of being in the top 10. So it is not the contest which sucked, but your blog. Suck it up and make improvements and stop bitching.

  28. Ginger

    Jaden, you rock for even thinking about giving your commentors this opportunity – you could have just called a friend and said here you go, instead, you take the time and effort to choose one of your readers. Any process you used would have been fine.

    Steamy Kitchen is not a democracy, it’s a blog with a very generous blogger behind it. Those of you pouting should put your energy to better use.

    Thanks again for the opportunity and this will teach me to read my email sooner rather than later so that I don’t miss out next time!

  29. phu

    The way you chose to pick the winner is interesting (I rather like it)… and sore losers are always a bit pathetic… but the italicized writeup seems kind of unnecessarily confrontational/condescending and… well, just generally unnecessary.

  30. Dawn in CA

    I step away from the internet for a few days and this is what happens – I miss all the drama. 😉 Jaden, I hope you will continue to have these great giveaways, despite some negative comments. Honestly, if you decide to give something away to the person who has the most freckles, who responds fastest, who tells the funniest story, or whose name you pick out of the internet hat, it’s all fine by me. A few days ago, all the complainers had zero chance of going to this event. Then you came along and gave us all a chance. That chance alone merits a gracious thank you (and I didn’t even enter).

    Keep cookin’, keep bloggin’, and please… keep givin’! xoxo, Dawn

  31. Meg

    I’m with Dawn in CA on this one – and with Gary on the chocolate chips issue. I’m just thrilled to have had a shot at this, and to have had the opportunity to see so many blogs I’d not yet discovered.

  32. Lorna

    Hi Jaden, thanks so much for giving us the chance to win such an amazing giveaway! Like I said on twitter, we very much appreciate you taking the time to do this, when you could’ve just assigned one of your readers to go and be done with it.

    (And even though I didn’t win, the support from my city and from random commenters made my day!)

  33. CookingSchoolConfidential.com

    I’m delighted for the winner and happy I’ll get to read her report which makes me a bit of a winner. But I also understand why people are unhappy.

    I mean, first we were asked for “… 100 words or less, why we should pick YOU!” then a random number was used to select the winner! Then, when people complained, you said you were concerned about “playing favorites” even though this contest was supposed to be based on qualifications (“Im looking for someone with a fun voice, who can take decent photos … “).

    And calling people “sore losers” or telling them to sit in the “pouting corner” (you don’t really talk to your children that way, do you?) can’t have helped.

    I asked a friend who does social media about this and he said “Well, she has to sell advertising on her blog, doesn’t she?” And that made it all clearer.

    But I don’t think it makes people happier, I’m afraid.

  34. Barry

    Holy cow, this was a great opportunity that Jaden was nice enough to provide. I can’t believe anyone would get bent of shape at how the winner was chosen. It’s Jaden’s frickin’ blog, it’s Jaden’s choice on how to select a winner.Be happy for the winner and try again some other time.

  35. CookingSchoolConfidential.com

    Jaden Hair may be a lovely person, but let’s not be naive about what is happening here.

    It is the PR firm, and not Jaden, who is offering this junket. They will do all the work and pay all the bills. They are doing so to generate buzz about the movie to build ticket sales so they can line their pockets.

    And Jaden is doing this to build traffic to her blog to increase advertising revenue which will line her pockets.

    This is a business deal, pure and simple, where everyone makes money. Everyone, that is, except the correspondent who is working for free.

  36. Gary @foodmedic.com

    I wish I had a PR firm…they would already know I don’t like chocolate chips in my banana bread. But I bet I would probably get my banana bread for free then, huh? I wonder if they would try to line my pockets with chocolate chips. They are left over anyway. It’s not that I don’t like chocolate chips, mind you. They sponsor me so I have to like them. This is obviously my devilish ploy about lining my pockets. But, then everyone would want to get in my pants because I have chocolate chips lining my pockets. But I couldn’t let everyone in my pants. Well, maybe I could, but I won’t. I’m from Texas after all. This is a business deal, pure and simple.

    …and the evil plan comes together.

    P.S. I’m looking for a correspondent that is looking to get into my pants for free. What number am I thinking of?

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