David Trinko: Lima native cooks her way to world title

Bethany Boedicker has come a long way, from munching on her great-grandmother’s “bonus snack” pie dough in Lima to wowing judges at an international competition.

The Lima native was at the top of her craft last weekend, winning the 2024 World Food Championships in Bentonville, Arkansas, and claiming the top prize of $150,000.

“I believe in tithing and giving back to the church,” she said by phone from her home in Galveston, Texas, where she’s lived the past 15 years. “God blessed me with all of these opportunities that I’ve been able to have along the way. Other than that, I want to open my own store. Every time I’ve competed up until now, I saved my money to work toward that dream. That’s the next step.”

She thinks she has enough money set aside to open the Milk and Honey Baking Company soon in Texas.

She thinks fondly about growing up in Lima. It’s been about five years since she last visited the area, but she still has family and friends here. She said the people in Texas don’t know how to make the kinds of pizzas she missed from Lima, including Fat Jack’s, Beer Barrel and Rigali’s, saying “no one has pizza like that here.”

She said she learned from her grandmother’s made-from scratch style, but early childhood memories of her great-grandmother also stuck with her.

“One of her favorite things she used to make were these almost pie dough-wrapped hot dogs,” she said. “She used to give those to everybody at Christmas. That was her specialty. She always took the leftover pie dough and either salted it or cinnamon-sugared it. It was just like a bonus snack.”

She also recalled getting pumpkin whoopies at the annual Bath Craft Show, fighting over the remaining two from a six-pack.

She said it’s a compliment to a chef when a food invokes positive memories.

“It’s something when you’re preparing food that evokes an emotion or a memory. It also leaves an emotion or a memory. Maybe it’s something that’s very good, and you think about it. I had a cookie from a bakery in Houston. Every time I want a cookie, I think I want to drive to Houson for it.”

Boedicker now works as a pastry chef for Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center in Galveston, and she’s become known for her elaborate and delectable cakes. Her Instagram account is filled with cakes that almost look too good to eat — almost.

She’s competed in World Cooking Championships three times now. This year she earned a trip to the finals as the dessert champion. She battled against champions in other disciplines, with the finals coming down to vegeterian champion Pascal Aussignac, of London; seafood champion John McFadden, of Australia, and burger champion Joannes Richard, of France.

She won with a plate called “Natural Selection,” including cheese mousse; honey red berry and herb coulis; and sweet and salty pistachio crumble in a poured sugar shell.

She’s adopted some of the culinary traits of her adopted state of Texas. Last year, she made a “Texican” chocolate chili cake, complete with a peanut brittle and horchata whipped cream and a chili-spiced ganache, as well as dulce de leche on it.

She also enjoys infusing cajun and Asian flavors into her food, which helped when she made a family-style dinner using a mystery basket of local ingredients, including a jam and sweet potatoes. She turned that into a blackened cod dinner, served alongside turnips, roasted radishes, roaster sweet potatoes with a cherry almond jeam and a pepper corn cream. Being a baker at heart, she also served a peanut brittle and homemade wonton.

“I’m pastry by trade. I don’t really do savory foods. I know enough,” she humbly said. “I was classically trained, so I know my way around the kitchen, but obviously not as well as the other chefs I was up against. It was intimidating.”


See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.

David Trinko is editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.