Home Chef winner says being a picky eater helped him cook

Nov. 1, 2011 at 9:08 AM ET

Courtesy of Barry C. Parsons
Courtesy of Barry C. Parsons / Courtesy of Barry C. Parsons

Meet Barry C. Parsons, the first man to win TODAY's Home Chef Challenge! His gorgeous Banoffee Pie took a whopping 76 percent of the vote. Get the recipe here, and read on to learn more about Barry, who dishes on the importance of meal planning.

Name: Barry C. Parsons

Age: 45

Hometown: St. John's, Newfoundland

How does it feel to win the Home Chef Challenge?

It feels great! I was so surprised to get chosen for the challenge and then completely humbled by the support of folks who voted for my recipe. The many readers of my Rock Recipes blog have been particularly encouraging and supportive; I credit them with this win.

How long have you been cooking?

Forever. Probably from the age of about 10. I was a very finicky eater as a child and I think I learned that if you cook, you get more control over the family's meal choices. So, hey, if your kid is a picky eater, don't be too hard on him, he might just turn out to be a pretty decent cook.

Courtesy of Barry C. Parsons /
Barry's delicious Banoffee Pie

Share your favorite cooking tip

No matter what your skill level in the kitchen, I think the most valuable tip for busy families today, besides collecting great quick meal recipes, is meal planning. Our family still sits down to dinner every night, as we have done for over a decade and that is directly due to simple meal planning. A weekly meal plan is great, but even thinking about dinner 24 hours in advance can get you into the routine of simple prep for tomorrow's dinner, even as you are cooking today's. Wondering what's for dinner at 5 p.m. almost guarantees that it will come out of a bucket.

What would be your ideal last meal?

I'd have to go with my ultimate comfort food meal. Rotisserie roasted turkey with traditional Newfoundland savory stuffing, onion gravy and homemade cranberry apple sauce, served with English style roasted potatoes and bacon buttered brussels sprouts. For dessert? I'll take a big slice of that amazing Banoffee Pie -- it is that good.

Are you up for the challenge? Enter your recipe her, and vote for next week's winner.