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This article was published 19/8/2012 (2745 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
First time proved the charm for Montreal’s John Lattuca, crowned on Sunday as Manitoba’s new king of the grill.
Lattuca, the sole member of the Weekend Warrior barbecue team from Montreal, was crowned grand champion at the inaugural Winnipeg Free Press Pit Masters Championship at Red River Exhibition Park.
Cooking in his first-ever formal barbecue battle, the rookie out-duelled 23 veteran teams from Manitoba, Quebec and Minnesota.
"I can’t believe it," the one-man team said of his victory. "I haven’t had breakfast, lunch or dinner yet. I brought everything with me in three boxes and only slept for 42 minutes last night. This is unbelievable."
For his efforts, Lattuca was awarded $2,500 and earned invitations to the Jack Daniels World Invitational Barbecue Championship in Lynchburg, Tenn., and the World Food Championships in Las Vegas.
The Free Press Pit Masters Championship, sanctioned by the prestigious Kansas City Barbecue Society, capped the three-day Winnipeg BBQ and Blues Festival. The teams were judged by KCBS-certified judges in four categories: chicken, ribs, pork and brisket.
Organizer Perry Hopkins said the inaugural weekend of blues and barbecue proved even more popular than expected, with an estimated 10,000 patrons passing through the gates at the Ex over the three days.
"It’s nearly double what we expected," said Hopkins, co-ordinator of the championship. "We had about 5,000 people on Saturday. I can’t wipe the smile off my face. I’m ready to do another one next week."
Doug has held almost every job at the newspaper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his colleagues are confident he’ll eventually find something he is good at.