Hello I’m Robin, from The Great American Recipe with PBS and I’m going to share the dishes I made for themes and episodes that I’m lucky enough to be in!
If I am lucky enough to make it through to the next round each week, I’ll be back here to give you an update on Episodes and Themes! Wish me luck, or wave a magic wand, lol!
What Is The Great American Recipe
The Great American Recipe is an eight-episode cooking competition on PBS, celebrating the multiculturalism that makes American food great.
More than a competition, but rather a form of storytelling around food. The show features cuisines from around the world, from contestants who’s families have made America their home.
Each episode of the series, showcases two of each contestant’s signature dishes and family stories behind them.
Where To Watch The Great American Recipe
While we each have devices we like to watch our favorite programs on, The Great American Recipe can also be viewed in a variety of ways.
- On TV, through cable, check your local PBS station listings for times and dates.
- Streaming on PBS.org
- Streaming on the PBS Video App
The show premiered on June 24 at 9 p.m. ET and continues through the finale on August 12.
Meet The Judges and Contestants Of 2022
Chef Alejandra Ramos hosts the panel of judges that includes Chef Tiffany Derry, Leah Cohen and Graham Elliot.
The contestants, who became friends while filming the show and have remained in contact since, are:
Bambi Daniels (NC), Brian Leigh (KY), Christina McAlvey (OR), Dan Rinaldi (RI), Foo Nguyen (CA), Irma Cadiz (NY), Nikki Tomaino-Allemand (ID), myself, Robin Daumit (MD), Silvia Martinez (CA) and Tony Scherber (MN)
For full bios and more details, please visit the official website.
Behind The Scenes Stories
Many of you signed up to receive ‘behind the scenes’ stories, so you already know the wild challenges I faced to step foot on set.
Those of you who may have missed the sign up, you can jump in and get caught up here:
- Behind The Scenes Preparation For The Great American Recipe
- Cosmetics Before Cameras
- Film Production Time
Themes Of Episode 1 – If I Were A Recipe
Round 1 – Me On A Plate
The first challenge for the 10 Home Cooks, is to create a 60-minute dish that ‘defines who they are’ on a plate.
For this theme, right out of the starting gate, I made dessert.
I knew it was risky but my mother used to tell us, “The best way to know how good a restaurant or home cook will be with their primary dishes, is to see the desserts first! If that impresses you, the rest will wow you”!
Baklawa (Baklava), is what I prepared. I added the special and beautiful touch of rosewater and freshly chopped rose petals, to the Baklawa.
Round 2 – Find Me On The Map
A 90-minute dish that best represents how your home state has influenced your cooking.
Beef and Stout Oyster Pie is what I prepared.
Pub pies of London (British hubby), really expanded my concept of meat pies. Bringing that concept to the vast cattle farms of Maryland and Oysters of the Chesapeake Bay, I believed this dish would best fit the theme.
Episode 1 first aired on June 24, 2022 and can be viewed by streaming.
Themes of Episode 2 – The Daily Dish
Round 1 – In A Pinch
A 60-minute cook of our most beloved dish ‘in a pinch,’ using pantry and staple ingredients.
Eggs are always in my fridge. Canned tomatoes, smoked peppers, olives and dried herbs from my summer garden, are always in my pantry.
Round 2 – Crowd Pleasers
90-minutes to make a crowd pleasing recipe for even the pickiest eaters or those with dietary restrictions.
Potato Crusted Quiche is what I prepared.
My Mediterranean twist on a traditional Jewish Potato Latke was my approach to a gluten-free crust. Garden inspired fresh tomatoes and herbs in the quiche with a cheesy element, made with dairy or non-dairy cheese.
Episode 2 first aired on July 1, 2022 and can be viewed by streaming.
Themes of Episode 3 – Love Language
Round 1 – Feels Like A Hug
The remaining 8 cooks prepare a 60-minute dish that ‘feels like a hug,’ something we might make for a loved one that screams ‘comfort food.’
Stuffed Pasta Shells is what I prepared.
Having been a single mom of 4 and now a grandma of 3, pasta has always been the ‘hug’ dish in my home. Being a sneaky mom, one who likes to sneak healthy green things in the kid’s food, I stuff my pasta shells with meat and cheese camouflaged veggies. Shhhh.
Round 2 – A Love Dedication
In 90-minutes, we were asked to prepare a dish someone we love may have taught us to make. Yes, lots of tears in Episode 3.
Tahini Custard Pie is what I prepared.
While my Syrian mom was the most incredible pie maker (making American pies), I’ve ever known, when she passed her recipes went with her. This unique pie with Middle Eastern flavors, is one I created and have dedicated to her.
Episode 3 first aired July 8, 2022 and can be viewed by streaming.
Themes of Episode 4 – Moveable Feast
Round 1 – Keep It Handy
Halfway into season 1 and this 60-minute cook is all about preparing a ‘hand held’ dish. A dish that can go anywhere, be eaten on the run and wow the judges.
Dolmas – Stuffed Grape Leaves is what I prepared.
Having grown up with Middle Eastern influenced dishes in my home, Dolmas were as regular in our home as tacos were in Silvia’s. I have made changes to my mother’s traditional recipe, using barley instead of rice.
Also, I’ve found that cooking the filling before wrapping in the grape leaves, brush with olive oil and lightly toast in the oven, makes for a better texture than the boiled leaves I grew up eating.
Round 2 – Have Food Will Travel
In our 90-minute cook, we were to prepare a dish we love to take on picnics, tailgating, beach or boating.
Growing up in Annapolis Maryland, one of the sailing capitols of America, boating was our family’s favorite past time, but not sail boats! Nope, they are too much work! Our family loved motor boating and these chicken and waffles along with watermelon sips, boozy or in mocktail form, are perfect for summertime outings.
Episode 4 first aired July 15, 2022 and can be viewed by streaming.
Themes of Episode 5 – Party On A Plate
Round 1 – Once In A Lifetime
Over the hump of ‘halfway’ in this fabulous cooking adventure and of course round 1 asks us to share the dish and story of a favorite special occasion.
THIS, for me, is a special occasion! No restaurant in the world, could make my ‘special occasion’ annual birthday dinner the way my professional chef son Omar makes for me, no matter how busy the food industry is on my birthday in December. He taught me how to make this dish and the judges loved it!
Round 2 – Holiday Traditions
Our usual 90-minute cook was extended to a 2-hour cook. We are to choose a dish that represents what it’s like to celebrate our holiday traditions. This challenge is going to be served family style, with the contestants joining the judges at the table!
Kibbeh is a traditional Syrian/Lebanese style stuffed meatball. I’ve been making Kibbeh since I was a little girl. Kneading the meat, as though dough, is key in blending the meat, herbs and grain into a rich, cohesive texture that doesn’t look like ground meat when cooked.
With only 3 more Episodes to go, saying bye to some of the contestants is becoming more difficult, even if I would like to be in the finale.
Episode 5 first aired July 22, 2022 and can be viewed by streaming.
Themes of Episode 6 – Mix It Up
Round 1 – Recipe Sharing
Choose one of your go-to dishes that is your most requested recipe that you share with other people. Little did we know, we would actually share it… we had to swap our recipes!
Maple Pumpkin Bread is my recipe.
Poor Nikki had to make, and she stated that she doesn’t bake and she doesn’t like pumpkin! Luckily for her, I brought in my own mini-loaf pans, so the bread would cook quickly, and some cute pure maple candies, shaped like the maple leaf, for garnish.
Round 2 – Melting Pot
In 90-minutes we were asked to choose one dish that represents the influences that make-up your personal unique cooking and food story.
America is a melting pot and our food stories are a blend of multiple influences, this is an opportunity for me to make a dish that represents a place where I have lived. Oh boy! I am taking you to Brazil, where I lived for 3 years and laced my culinary style with lots of new flavors, ingredients and techniques.
Episode 6 first aired July 29, 2022 and can be viewed by streaming.
Themes Of Episode 7 – Family
Round 1 – It Takes A Family
Family doesn’t just mean family of origin or blood relatives. Choose one dish that’s inspired by someone who you consider as your chosen family.
Spinach Stuffed Squid is my recipe.
With sautéed spinach in caramelized onions, a few anchovies and crushed pine nuts, I stuffed the squid tubes. Hah! Sure I did! Have you ever tried feeding a 4 month old anything? Their little tongue hasn’t figured out yet how to work, and so they push the food right back out of their mouth. My first real struggle getting my recipe ready for the judges.
Round 2 – Recipe DNA
In 90 minutes… remember that, my dear friends, 90-minutes, choose one dish that’s been passed down and adapted from generation to generation within your family. What is the one dish that your family is known for?
Grandma’s Turkey Stuffing is what I prepared.
Stuffing! Sage, chestnuts with bagel stuffing, mixed with dark turkey meat, wrapped in the breast. Experience Thanksgiving in One Bite.
I have done this dish many times and knew that as long as I pounded out the turkey breast, the turkey and stuffing would be cooked perfectly, and on time. I should have just stopped with that.
No… I had to go ahead and do the entire Thanksgiving meal, in 90-minutes! But I can promise, you will want to make turkey and stuffing this way from now on and the Cranberry Grape Compote, Graham said, was the best he’d ever had (though that was edited out – wink).
Episode 7 first aired July 29, 2022 and can be viewed by streaming.
Themes Of Episode 8 – Finale
Round 1 – Kitchen Muse
Choose one dish that you make time and again with the person you love to cook with most.
Button Cups is my recipe.
A shortbread cookie dough formed into a tiny cup, a button-shaped cookie for the lid, homemade almond butter and homemade strawberry jam fill the cups with lids, served alongside a shot glass of homemade almond milk. The ultimate PB&J with milk in 60-minutes!
Round 2 – The Finale Dish
The ultimate 3 component meal, that must include dessert, that tells the story of who you are.
Episode 8 first aired August 12, 2022 and can be viewed by streaming.
That’s A Wrap!
I am beyond elated to have had this fabulous opportunity to:
- Cook all 18 rounds
- Showcase my diverse use of the ingredients I grew up with
- Be able to example my passion for visual storytelling
- Obtain a national audition for other things I want to do
PBS has been amazing to work with and their vision for heartfelt storytelling is exactly what our country needed right now.