9th Place Finish

Heather Sinyard

Crimson Q
Final Score
87.2642528
KCBS Score
675.9312
WFC Score
81.25

I started out cooking what I liked, but then I learned you have to adjust your flavor profiles to what judges like.

In her day job working with Springer Mountain Farms Chicken, Heather Sinyard of Atlanta, GA has been a part of many cooking competitions. She has also led the Crimson Q barbecue team with her husband, Richard, for four years. So for this Atlanta resident, food sport is truly a family affair.

Unfortunately, the person she usually cooks with (Richard) couldn't make the trip to Orange Beach, Ala, where the finals of the Cowboy Charcoal Fire & Ice Women's Championship were being held during the World Food Championships. But she proceeded undaunted, knowing that her daughter would be by her side. Ultimately, even her mother joined in, making the trip from Panama City to help out at the competition. The experience, which led to a 9th place finish, is one she'll never forget.

The start of Sinyard's competitive cooking success began with a love for barbeque and genuine passion for cooking. "My background includes culinary school, and I've been in and out of kitchens for most of my adult life," she explains. That was what stoked the fire for her and her husband to get into competitive barbecue.

Collectively, they quickly picked up the secrets of food sport and soon began to place in regional barbecue contests and winning categories. "It takes a lot of work," Sinyard admits. "I started out cooking what I liked, but then I learned you have to adjust your flavor profiles to what judges like."

During the 2016 barbeque season, Heather placed in the top ten of all women-led teams in the KCBS system, which earned her the right to participate in the finals of Fire & Ice. But when she arrived in Orange Beach, she quickly found herself outside of her comfort zone for the first round. "I'm used to cooking meat slowly, but we only had two hours from lighting the fire to turn-in for the grilling challenge of the Fire & Ice process. That was the first time I've ever done that."

As soon as round one was completed, Sinyard and the other Fire & Ice finalists returned to their cooking pits to begin preparations for the second half of the competition. The ten lady pitmasters would take part in a traditional KCBS competition, turning in four different meats to be judged by CBJ's and KCBS officials. "It makes sense," explained Sinyard, "since we got into this competition for our barbecue skills anyway."

"When they announced a friend of mine had finished second (in the KCBS comp), I was really happy for her and started to get ready to go get some food for my family. They then announced me as the winner and I about fell over in the bushes!" After her combined scores, though, Sinyard didn't end up placing in the top two spots of the Fire & Ice Women's Championship Series. However, she did win prize money for her pork success and a $1000 gift certificate for some "icing on the cake" at Manning Jewelry.

Her biggest prize was the memories she'll carry with her from the entire competition. "It was so great to meet all these awesome women in barbecue and bond with them. The vibe at the World Food Championships was even more intense than the regular competitions we take part in. Plus, Orange Beach was a great venue, and they were excellent hosts for the event."

This was the inaugural year of the Fire & Ice Women's Championship Series, which was started by Cowboy Charcoal in an effort to shine a light on the best female pitmasters in the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Throughout the year, Cowboy Charcoal tracked the Lady Pitmaster's performance and supplied the fire whenever they needed it. Deep South Smokers and Bull Outdoor Grills also jumped into the effort by lending prizes and equipment at WFC to help make the finals a true combination of grilling and barbecuing success.