Last week, I had the honor of attending the fifth annual Red Robin Kids Cookoff in Denver. I was there as a blogger/correspondent in support of 12 year old Wichita seventh grader Donovan Duggins. Donovan ended up winning not only the juried Grand Prize (a trip to Universal Orlando and his winning Mt. Vesuvius burger featured on menus at Red Robin nationwide next summer, with all sales benefitting the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children), but also the Fan Favorite prize (Red Robin and Toys'R Us gift cards) which was decided by online voting.
It's never hard to back a winner and Donovan is a kid with a great heart, sharp mind and phenomenal sense of humor! He had a trial run of his burger preparation the day before the live-broadcast competition and he was already a total pro in the kitchen. He showed his sous chefs exactly how to assemble his Mt. Vesuvius burger, from arranging the crispy bacon strips and sprinkling blue cheese to bathing it in his secret recipe lava sauce and then wrapping it in paper or– as the Red Robin crew call it– putting on the diaper…
I truly enjoyed spending time with Donovan and with his family, including his two older sisters who are just as smart and funny, but also …babysitting age. (I am definitely keeping their number!) They're a tight knit clan and it was fun getting to see them support the baby brother of the Duggins family. I loved the matching shirts they wore on the day of the Cookoff. They said "Team Donovan" on the back, so cute!
In the end, to best express Donovan's charm and wit, you have to see him in motion. I dare you not to immediately fall in love with this kid! Here is a video recap of his performance in the 2010 Red Robin Kids Cookoff:
Here's an exclusive video interview that Red Robin arranged for me to do with Donovan right after he won. Bear in mind that he had already done about 10 interviews for mass media in the hour or so since his big win and that all of his answers are totally off the cuff. I am fairly certain Donovan needs his own talk show. He even made me moderately comfortable on camera, which is a rarity.
Did I mention the lovely and talented bloggers I was honored to be included among? No?
This year, for the first time, each Kids Cookoff finalist had a blogger from their local area reporting on their experience. How cool is that? Very cool for me, since I got to hang out with some lady friends, old and new.
Disclosure: In accordance to the FTC Guidelines and WOMMA Code of Ethics, I am disclosing that my travel and accommodations were provided by Red Robin but that my opinions as an event correspondent are entirely my own.