By KATIE “Sweet Potato” HOOS
She was hungry for the win.
New Rochelle’s Luz Quevedo was crowned champion in the first Downtown Business Improvement District Farmers Market sweet potato pie-eating contest, smearing her competition and landing the top prize—a basket of homemade goodies from the event’s sponsor, Luscious Little Dessert Company.
“This is the fourth year of my business so it’s kind of an anniversary party, and the best way to do that is to have a pie-eating contest,” said Diana Scott-Sho, baker and owner of the Yonkers-based Luscious Little Dessert Company. “These wonderful people have decided to embarrass themselves a little and eat some pie.”
Scott-Sho, who baked three, eight-inch sweet potato pies for the contest, said all the recipes for her Southern desserts hail from her great grandmother, Margaret Chambers Matthews, known as “Big Ma.”
“Everything is passed down in the family,” said Scott-Sho, whose signature items include sweet potato pound cake with brown sugar glaze, lemon-lime cheesecake with gingerbread crust, spicy oatmeal rum raisin cookies and, of course, sweet potato pie.
The New Rochelle pie-eating contestants—Quevedo, Andrew Yoon of New York City and Emilio Black of New Rochelle—had their hands tied behind their backs and were given three minutes to eat as much pie as possible, using only their mouths. The contestants had to keep the pie down for two minutes after they finished eating in order to qualify to win.
Thankfully, for the crowd’s sake, all were successful.
Devouring nearly the entire pie, Quevedo was named victorious over her competitors and received a large basket of Luscious Little Dessert’s baked goods. Yoon and Black walked away with full bellies and a runner-up prize of Scott-Sho’s homemade country peach pie with buttermilk crust.
“Luscious Little Desserts has some of the best desserts I’ve ever had,” said Ralph DiBart, executive director of the New Rochelle Downtown BID, a non-profit association of more than 800 businesses that hosts the farmers market. “[Scott-Sho] is a delightful, wonderful person and she has been with us from the beginning. I think the pie-eating contest was great fun as a community event and a great way to feature her desserts and make more people aware of how delicious they are.”
The market, which is held on Saturday mornings at the Library Green in front of the New Rochelle Downtown
Library, hosts vendors from all over the tri-state area who sell fresh produce, baked goods, specialty meats and artesian products. Now in its second year, the market also showcases free live music, yoga sessions, cooking seminars and entertainment.
Intending to draw people into the city’s downtown and encourage visitors to shop and dine locally, the market is gaining a lot of attention, according to DiBart, who said almost every week new vendors contact him looking to become involved.
“We’re becoming a weekly celebration of community,” DiBart said, noting that both new and repeat customers attend the market each week. “We’re becoming a fixture on many people’s Saturday morning calendars.”
New Rochelle Downtown
BID Farmers Market
1 Library Plaza, New Rochelle
Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
May 31 to Nov. 22