HEAD COOK: Michele Kusma
COMPETITION: World Dessert Championship
Michele is a former teacher, current homemaker, and an award-winning community volunteer. She loves food and began cooking competitively just a few years ago. Michele has been a finalist (2013) and a semi-finalist (2014) in the Manischewitz Cook-Off. She has been a finalist twice in the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest (2013 & 2014). She won the Dole Packaged Fruit Recipe Challenge (2014), which earned her a spot in the 2014 World Food Championships. Michele has also won the Kid Friendly Award for Eggland's Your Best Recipe Contest (2014), was a runner-up in the California Giant Berry Farms All About Pies Baking Contest (2015), and was the candies category winner in the National Girl Scout Cookie Recipe Contest (2015). She won runner-up in the WFC Dessert is First FoodChamp Online Recipe Contest (2015) and was named Dandy's Ultimate Celery Champion (2015), which qualified her for the 2015 World Food Championships. In 2016, Michele was a finalist in the Farm Rich Back Your Snack recipe contest and the Kerrygold Mac & Cheese recipe contest. She also won 2nd place in the 2016 WFC Taste of America Challenge and 2nd place in the WFC Bake Your Way to the Beach contest, which qualified her for the 2016 World Food Championships. In 2017, Michele competed as a finalist in the National Cornbread Festival and The National Festival of Breads. She was also runner-up in the Voss Be The Chef recipe contest (2017), 3rd place winner of the Bob's Red Mill Cookie Contest (2017), the grand prize winner of the Dorm Food Recipe Contest (2017), and the grand prize winner of the Midwest Regional Riunite Ultimate Chili Challenge (2017). Michele qualified for the 2017 World Food Championships by winning 1st place in the 2017 WFC Taste of America Challenge for Ohio.
Michele likes to experiment in the kitchen and really enjoys the challenge of creating original recipes. Cooking in the Kusma Kitchen is much easier when Michele’s husband, David, is around. He keeps the kitchen clean and organized, dices with amazing precision, and does all the heavy lifting. Their daughter is the official taste-tester when she is home from college. Michele is also a two-time breast cancer survivor. She knows what it takes to win a tough battle, and she plans to enter the World Food Championships with the same determination. She is thrilled to be able to meet and compete with so many talented cooks.