Meet our First Annual Grand Prize Recipe Contest Winner!
- February 2022
- By Kim Caviness
- Recipe from Puerto Rico
You voted Michelle Ezratty Murphy’s arroz con pollo as No. 1—and she’s heading to Puerto Rico’s Fairmont El San Juan Hotel for the prize trip home
Thousands of you voted in the first annual Familia Kitchen Cooking Your Way Home Grand Prize Contest in January 2022. The contest celebrates FamiliaKitchen.com’s first full year of building the largest and most authentic treasury of family-famous recipes for Latinos seeking to cook our way home—together.
Four finalists competed for the Grand Prize. The winner would get a trip for two to the Spanish-speaking destination of their family heritage—including two nights at a luxury hotel, flights, and one amazing meal at their favorite local restaurant. Each finalist was the top-voted winner of a monthly Familia Kitchen Recipe Contest (Familia Kitchen hosts 12 a year). The four finalists were: Titi Rosa’s Arroz Con Pollo, Made With Love and Pegao (Puerto Rico), Ana’s Ropa Vieja With Muchos Spices and Red Wine (Cuba), Nata’s Pork Pozole Rojo (Mexico), and Lisa’s Flan: My Panamanian Flancito (Panama).
WINNER: Titi Rosa’s Arroz Con Pollo, Made With Love and Pegao
The votes were tallied Jan. 30, and the No. 1 dish—by more than 1,000 votes—was submitted by Michelle Ezratty Murphy, an active member of the Familia Kitchen community.
Michelle, who grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, won the Grand Prize for her Titi Rosa’s Arroz con Pollo, her mouth-wateringly delicioso, authentic family recipe. She is wasting no time claiming her prize: Michelle and her Boricua husband, Pat, will be flying to Puerto Rico in two weeks for a stay at the luxe Fairmont El San Juan Hotel, as part of the Familia Kitchen Grand Prize.
Though they now live in Arizona, Michelle, Pat and their two kids love nothing more than sitting down to a criollo meal Michelle expertly makes from Pat’s family recipes. This arroz con pollo is one of the most requested. The dish is from Pat’s Titi Rosa, a much-loved family-famous cook who Michelle remembers always having something delicious simmering on the back burner in her Puerto Rio home.
Titi Rosa grew up in the central mountains of the island—in the town of Utuado—and this recipe is Boricua cooking at its most auténtico: marinated chicken thighs browned with sofrito, achiote oil and salt pork and cooked with arroz blanco.
Michelle’s Reaction When Told She Won the Grand Prize
When Michelle got the surprise call from Familia Kitchen with the announcement that she had won the Grand Prize, her Puerto Rican mother-in-law Carmen Casasnovas Murphy—Titi Rosa’s sister—was at their house for lunch.
Michelle, Pat and Carmen were at first stunned.
Then, they got misty-eyed. ”This prize trip is so important for us. It is a beautiful thing. Just absolutely beautiful,” said a visibly emotional Michelle Ezratty Murphy. ”This trip is so amazing for two reasons. One, I will be now able to cook the arroz on pollo recipe with the person who is my inspiration: Titi Rosa.”
And two,” says Michelle, tearing up, “Being able to bring Pat back to his family. To his aunt, who is like a second mother to him. Who is not doing well. That is just, like, a miracle for us. It is just a miracle.”
Pat’s Titi Rosa has been struggling with Alzheimer’s, explains Michelle. They are going to spend quality time with her and cook her arroz con pollo recipe—which Titi Rosa first made for them more than 30 years ago—for her. Circle of life. Circle of family. Circle of food.
Michelle brushes away a tear. “Titi Rosa and Pat: the two of them are so close. Want to know something? When Pat last went to go see her, she doesn’t remember a lot of people, but when she sees Pat, her eyes open. And she remembers him. For a short period—but she remembers him.”
”And so this trip for Pat is time with his aunt one more time,’ says Michelle, hugging her husband and mother in law. “This trip comes at an amazing time.”
Stories like Michelle’s are why we launched Familia Kitchen. That Michelle and Pat’s arroz con pollo was voted favorite dish of the year by our Familia Kitchen community, and they now get to fly home to visit the aunt who showed them how to make this family recipe is powerful, moving and why we do what we do. As co-founder and editor in chief, I can tell you that, honestly, it’s what Familia Kitchen is all about: food, family, love, home.
“We want to thank our Familia Kitchen Cooking Our Way Home Grand Prize partner, Fairmont El San Juan Hotel, for welcoming Michelle and Pat to stay at this beautiful hotel that has long been at the social center of Puerto Rico culture,” says Lisa Hunt Stevens, co-founder and chief growth officer of Familia Kitchen. “Michelle and Pat went there to dine during their dating days, when they first met more than 30 years ago. They are so excited to go back. And we are so excited they will be able to see Tita Rosa and their family while they are staying there. This is literally what our mission—cooking your way home—celebrates.”
Michelle promises she’ll take a lot of photos of the extra special arroz con pollo she will make for Titi Rosa and their cousins, and of the comidas they plan to enjoy at Fairmont El San Juan Hotel and local restaurants back in Puerto Rico. Stay tuned!
If you are craving more of Michelle’s family-famous Puerto Rican dishes, check out her picadillo, beef–stuffed empanadas, alcapurrias, sofrito, tostones, maduros, and sweet pastelillos de guayaba recipes.
Want to Enter Your Family-Famous Recipes in Our Recipe Contests?
For your chance to submit your favorite dishes to next year’s second annual Familia Kitchen’s Grand Prize Contest and enter to win a trip home for you plus one to your Latino homeland, send your favorite recipe(s) to our monthly recipe contests. It would be our honor to help you cook your way home—just like our 2022 Familia Kitchen Grand Prize winner Michelle.
Felicidades Michelle—and Titi Rosa and Pat!
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