Starting at the 10 Year Anniversary, we began the brief 'MC' Era. Michael Conti showed up on the lasagna scene for the 10 year and came to win. In his first year of competition he shocked the crowd with amazing "Lasagna Sticks". Not to be outdone, Phil Stemp also won his first contest (but not on his first try). His "Phillylicious" was a style never tried before and he woulda made South Street proud. The following year, Michael Conti ('MC') had a title to defend and he took it seriously. 13 layers serious, as he arrived moments before voting with an epic "Breakfast Lasagna," complete with every breakfast food imaginable. And yet again, another veteran won her first Golden Spatula as Cheryl Turk went European with a "Pierogie Lasagna". These two champions beamed with pride as they held their trophies for photos and already began discussing plans for next year. Sadly, in March, Michael suddenly passed away. Based on his legacy, achieving 'First 2 Years-Back-To-Back Wins', and on his contagious personality and one of a kind character, we renamed the Golden Spatula the 'MC'. His legacy will live on as long as lasagnas are made.
And live on it did into 2019 as the Saggese home took home only their 2nd trophy. Annetta Saggese tapped into everyone's sweet tooth with her "Smores Lasagna" while Katy Durkin became the winningest Lasagna competitor with her 4th 'MC' Trophy as she taught us all about her new diet with her "Ketosagna". As the ladies ran the table in 2019, we were also happy to welcome our first true kid entries, thus allowing the kids to officially have a vote! This new tradition carried into 2020, before our world changed. This was one of our last house parties and there were no regrets as it was our biggest Lasagna Bowl to date. Over 70 people broke all the rules-to-come as they shared bites, talked close together, hugged and kissed, and probably didn't wash their hands enough. Ahh, the good ole days (we'll get back to them soon enough). But there was still a heated competition for the 'MC' Golden Spatulas and it was only fitting that a veteran and a rookie won them. Phil Stemp took home his 2nd 'MC' with a "WonTon Lasagna" and Kelli Flowers went true southern with her "Never Sausage A Lasagna". Little did we know that those would be the last hugs, kisses, shared bites and big parties for awhile.
I'll always remember, albeit a foggy memory, sitting around the fire afterwards watching everyone so happy and hearing all those conversations about next year's lasagna and how they can get more votes. Annetta and I would never have predicted this prolonged success and it makes us so proud to have this tradition. This is why we wouldn't let COVID stop us in 2021! The virtual approach changed the rules to now winning with a visually appealing video instead of an in-person tasting. Along with announcing the birth of LasagnaBowl.com, we feel 2021 will hold its own in this tradition of many layers.