Maria Kelly from Owensboro is still hashing it out in the Favorite Chef contest, to find the world's Favorite Chef.  She is currently in first place and needs your votes!

The person who wins the title of Favorite Chef will be featured in a Favorite Chef-purchased ad in Bon Appetit Magazine and win $50,000!  What an amazing opportunity for Maria.

**The contest, by the way, is not officially endorsed by Bon Appetit**

Maria (of local Nona's Market fame) was asked several questions about her history with food and how she honed her cooking craft when she entered the contest.  Maria started her cooking venture late in life.  She says, "We have eight children and somewhere along the line food became our glue."  And that love for preparing food, thankfully for the rest of us, quickly grew beyond the walls of her own kitchen.  She started helping friends with weddings, birthdays, and other special events.  Today, you'll find Maria catering a variety of events around the city.

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I can personally vouch for Maria, by the way.  I have emceed and attended a variety of events she has cooked for and catered.  Her spread at the 2019 Red on the River event for Girls Inc. was INCREDIBLE!  And, later that year, my graduating class- the DCHS Class of 1989- hired Maria to cater our 30-year reunion.  It was impeccable.  We had a bunch of food leftover and my classmates and I were hauling doggie bags of food home.

Maria says her signature dish pays tribute to her parents.  Her signature dish combines flavors from both their worlds.  It's Herb Roasted Pork w/ Shell Peas and Rice and Sauteed Greens with peppers and onions.
If you have ever had the chance to meet Maria you instantly feel a connection.  She is warm and friendly and an absolute delight to be around.  The fact that she can cook up a mess of something in the kitchen is just an added bonus.
With incredible exposure and $50,000 on the line, Maria is already sharing how she would use the prize money should she win it.  She says, "I would give back first. It's a blessing to be blessed.  I would invest back into my business so we can continue to bring more than just a plate of food to our community."
Since the beginning of the competition, Maria has sung the praises of the amazing community we live in.  She says "It is because of the wonderful community support I am here and WE CAN DO THIS!"
We're here for it, Maria, and we are cheering you on.  We encourage you all to do the same.    Voting is incredibly easy.  You can cast YOUR vote for Maria by CLICKING HERE!
Voting to determine the Top 15 gets underway today and runs through Thursday, February 25th.

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