For more than 40 years, cooking was nothing more than a hobby for Paula Todora, a Fort Worth resident with a 30-year career in commercial insurance. But less than five years ago, she entered a national cooking contest, and it “opened up a whole new world.”
Now, Todora, 57, is a seasoned veteran at the World Food Championships and will be a co-host of a nationally syndicated radio show, “Golf, Grape & Grub Show.”
In 2010, Todora discovered what made her “tick.” She entered a Paula Deen cooking contest and won $25,000 with an original stuffed shrimp appetizer. She got to cook with Deen and they collaborated on a cookbook. Todora called it her “casting call,” and she started entering more contests.
Last year, Todora qualified for the dessert competition at the World Food Championships.
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“For me, it’s not about winning or losing but rather about the journey to the finish line,” reads her profile on the World Food Championships website. “I keep creating recipes, entering contests, making new friends along the way and life is good.”
She came in seventh place in the seafood division, thanks to a Sinfully Rich Seafood Pie, Fort Worth Fish Tacos and Cheesy Beer Grits and Prawns.
Todora, who lives in far north Fort Worth near the Keller border, said she was thrilled with the results of her dive into cooking, but her experience continues to grow. Earlier this month, Todora accepted an offer to be the “grub guru” co-host of a local radio show to be nationally syndicated.
The “Golf, Grape & Grub Show” will air Saturdays at 11 a.m. on 1160 AM-KVCE, beginning Jan. 10. It’ll be broadcast from Kent & Co. Wines in Fort Worth, where Todora will be talking recipes and meals to a large audience.
“This has grown bigger than I ever dreamed of,” Todora said. “I’m still in shock.”
Todora’s food blog is available at www.paulajeancuisine.com.
Mark David Smith, 817-390-7808