Debbie Donato, an international food judge has mediated over 150 food/beverage competitions and most recently judged chili for the Illinois State Championship Chili Cook-off. She is certified with the World Food Championships, certified with the Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS), a member of the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI), and founder of Taste Explorers (a group that drinks, eats, competes, judges, and travels).
A few previous food competitions she has judged besides numerous chili and BBQ competitions are: Cochon 555, American Royal, Canadian Food Championships, Culinary Care Corporate Cook-off, Gelato Festival America, Wilmington Food & Wine Festival, Culinary Fight Club, World Food Championships, Aurora Convention and Visitors Bureau restaurant Cook-off, Bull Burger Battle, Midwest Food Expo/ProStart Wisconsin, and the Great Taste Awards in London.
She believes once you have experienced superior quality of any food type competition or not, it is love at first bite!
In her free time she enjoys attending food/beer/wine fests, visiting restaurants, sipping a drink at a rooftop bar, shopping at farmers markets, flipping thru cookbooks, and planning her next culinary trip.