Jacob Wernick of Phoenix, a 12-year-old budding home chef, recently won first place at the 2017 Half Moon Sauce Boss competition, earning the title as this year’s Sauce Boss.
The March 13 competition, at Half Moon Windy City Sports Grill in Central Phoenix, featured six finalists from more than 30 home chef entries received.
Wernick, who also won the People’s Choice award, received a $350 cash prize ($250 for first place and $100 for Peoples Choice), plus one free pound of wings every day for a year at either of Half Moon’s Phoenix locations. Additionally, his award-winning Guns a Blazin’ Spicy Mango Wing Sauce will be featured on a future Half Moon menu.
“I love wings and spicy food,” Wernick said in a press release. “So, for my sauce, I wanted to make something sweet, with a bit of a kick to it and a nice balance.”
“I knew that I had a shot at the People’s Choice award with all the people I had there to support me, but I was really surprised when I won first place,” he said. “More than anything, I realized that no matter how young you are, you can always achieve something if you try your best and put your mind to it.”
Each finalist’s wing sauce submission was sampled and voted on by a panel of local celebrity/VIP judges, including EaterAZ Founder Dave Tyda; Mike Bauer, host of AM1580 the Fanatic Morning Show K-Ray & Bauer; Taryn Jeffries, PhoenixBites.com food blogger; Executive Chef Meegan Roberts of Sysco Food Service; Joanie Simon, principal of Joanie Simon Media; and former Chicago Bears Safety Doug Plank.
The Half Moon Sauce Boss champion was determined by the celebrity judges‘ combined scores. Scoring was based on overall flavor, originality and appropriate heat.