L.J. Washington caught the competitive-cooking bug bad, thanks in large part to this newspaper, having won The Santa Barbara Independent’s 2012 Sandwich Showdown by beating two professional chefs. Since then, this Carpinteria resident, who is originally from New Orleans, won a KEYT Backyard BBQ Contest, a Carpinteria Chili Cookoff, and took part in the Today show Father’s Day Burger Battle, where she got to schmooze with Giada De Laurentiis. (“There was a lot of giggling and girl talk; it was really wonderful,” Washington recalled. “I’ll treasure that one.”)
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