Roasting the competition: Nancy Judd crafts award-winning creations


Nancy Judd is a mother of eight and a grandmother of 36 (18 granddaughters and 18 grandsons). She received this apron from Manuela Kjeilen, a chef from Norway who Nancy met at the World Food Championships. (Photo by Dave Blackhurst/UV Mag)

At age 3, Nancy Judd received a miniature baking set for Christmas.

She shadowed her mom in the kitchen using a fraction of the ingredients in her own little pan. When she made her first cake, she presented it to her dad after dinner.

“My dad tasted it and said, ‘Nancy, this is better than your mom’s,’” Nancy recalls. “That did it. I was hooked.”

Now this 73-year-old’s foodie love has landed her on shows like “Chopped” and “The Great American Baking Show.”

It has won her competitions from the Governor’s Pie Contest to the World Food Championships. But most of all, it’s introduced her to some of her best friends around the nation.

After growing out of her miniature baking set, Nancy continued to coach her cooking. She enrolled in home economics classes and in junior high, Nancy wrote Betty Crocker a letter and said she wanted to come work there.

“I’m enjoying my 70s and I have more time to pursue the things I love. I don’t want to just sit on the porch in my rocking chair, although I enjoy doing that. You can never stop learning.”

“They wrote me the sweetest letter back and said, ‘When you finish high school, go to college and after college contact us and we might hire you,’” Nancy says.

But Nancy, who now lives in Alpine, didn’t end up pursuing that path. She continued to create both in the kitchen and as an interior designer.

The eye for design weaves into her cooking since even though judges may say presentation doesn’t count, she knows adding a garnish to a soup or perfectly curled chocolate shavings to a pie can make a difference.

Before entering the Governor’s Pie Contest in 2012, Nancy phoned Governor Gary Herbert’s secretary and asked what type of pie was his favorite. The response? Chocolate.

So Nancy’s creativity kicked into gear. She thought about adding chocolate to a pecan pie, but then she found the perfect pie in a different nut — cashews.

The win sparked her desire to enter more contests. And with more wins have come more opportunities. She was featured on the Grandma-versus-Grandma episode of “Chopped” and has flown to the United Kingdom to be featured on the “Great American Baking Show.”

Her award-winning recipes range from Wicked Wasabi Wings to Bayou Butter Shrimp.

Nancy’s key to success?

“It’s always the simplest recipe,” Nancy says with a smile.


Utah Valley is Lindsey's home away from her Colorado Springs home. She writes for Utah Valley Magazine, and Prosper Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @lindsey5brooke.

One Comment

  1. AvatarDonna Bardocz Reply

    Love this lady, Nancy Judd! She is an amazing woman and a wonderful cook! I am happy to call her my friend! Love you Nancy!

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