This year Pacifica Institute Sunnyvale Branch has organized 3rd Annual Ashure Contest with participation of 7 contestant groups along with over 100 attendees from a diverse mix of cultures and faiths. Contestant group names were pretty interesting: Little Muchkins, Peacekeepers, Noah’s Sailors, Anka’s Dream, Peace Ark-Itects, Sultans of the Ashure, and We are the World.

Every year, several Turkish women team up with several women from other cultures and faiths. They come together the night before the competition to enjoy a dinner together and cook Ashure. However, cooking is not the only part of the contest; the presentation has to be creative as well. So they work hard to present Ashure in unique ways in an effort to won the contest. At the end of the night, every contestant goes home with sweet memories and a unique taste of Ashure they just helped cook.

Elaine Bondonno moderated the night with heartfelt words and wisdom of years.

Host Elaine Bondonno

This year’s judge panel was also very diverse and included 5 Judges who helped determine the winners in the taste and presentation categories. Judges were Ebru Gulsoy, Commercial Attaché of Turkey; Marie Bernard, Executive Director of Sunnyvale Community Services; Sally Wu, CPA and wife of Otto Lee; Ying Ying Lee, a lawyer and Guner Kasikci, a retired teacher. They really had a hard job of deciding the winners among 7 groups as the entries were pretty strong both in taste and presentation.

The night started with dinner and attendees have enjoyed a Turkish dinner along with a warm conversation with the other guests at their tables. The Ashure competition marked the night and sharpened audience’s knowledge about Ashure basics as the judges were evaluating the entries. As the night progressed, everyone could feel the warm winds of peace and friendship in the room.

Finally, Judges has decided on the winning entries. The presentation award went to the “Anka’s Dream” group formed by; Hulya, Gozde, Evelyn, and Motoko. The taste award went to the “Peace Ark-itects” group formed by; Collette, Sue, Meryem, and Filiz. The winners are awarded with incredibly beautiful bowls.

Presentation Winners: Team Anka’s Dream
Taste Winners:  Meryem Halbutogullari, Filiz Ozkan, Collette Lynner, and Sue Edson
Taste Winners: Team Peace Ark-itects

The night ended with small gifts presented to the Judges.

Pacifica institute would like to thank all of the contest participants and all of our friends attending the event. It was a delightful night. Even more delightful was sharing of Ashure with all of you. We look forward to seeing you at the next year’s contest.

Some pictures from the event: