Woo hoo! I am thrilled to announce that we have two more recipients of our Milestone Award this month: Liesbet Schietecatte and Tina DeLuca Tsourtsoulas. As a reminder, our Milestone Award is given to those contributors who have served the site for a year or more by providing outstanding tutorials, articles, challenges, or chats. Without these contributors, Cookie Connection wouldn't be nearly as interesting or educational as it is. And so, these awards are my small way of saying thank you for the HUGE amount of enthusiasm, creativity, and hard work donated by our volunteer contributors.
In recognition of their accomplishments, Liesbet and Tina will receive this flashy crystal trophy, custom-engraved to mark their service on Cookie Connection:
And, of course, they've already earned my undying gratitude!
In case you're new to the site and not familiar with Liesbet's articles or Tina's chats, let me briefly recap the magnitude of their contributions for you!
Liesbet first joined Cookie Connection's contributors team shortly before her inaugural post on September 17, 2015 about baking paper in Toolbox Talk, her bimonthly column dedicated to researching similarities and differences in cookie tools and ingredients across the globe. Since then, she's given us four more in-depth reviews that involve everything from controlled experiments in her kitchen to interviews with product manufacturers and membership surveys of product use. These articles are A LOT of work, but Liesbet never fails to deliver thoughtful and rigorous posts, and I always walk away from them having learned countless things! Stay tuned - she's got another great analysis of powdered sugar in the works for release later this month.
As for the lovely Tina, she pioneered the first Sweet Sharing chat on September 15, 2015 with the talented Evelindecora. Unlike our usual chats that run the gamut of topics, Tina's chats have been topic-centered and typically run about two hours, allowing members to really delve deep into the subject matter at hand. In her capacity as chat host, Tina has been responsible for finding guests, working with guests to select and develop topics, promoting the chats, and making everyone feel at home on the day of the event. She's done a fabulous job with each and every one of the eight chats she's done, which makes it pretty darn hard to deliver the next bit of news . . .
As of this weekend, Tina will be stepping down from this role, and we will, sadly, be bidding her adieu. If anyone knows of a good chat host, please let me know! Seriously, I am "hiring", but Tina has left some pretty big shoes to fill!
Again, congrats, Tina and Liesbet, and thanks for all you've done to make Cookie Connection a better place!
To learn more about our award recipients, please check out their bios below.
Liesbet Schietecatte is the author of Cookie Connection's bimonthly blog feature Toolbox Talk, which explores similarities and differences in cookie tools and ingredients from all over the world. Born in Belgium but permanently living in South Africa since 2005, Liesbet accidentally found her way into cookie decorating in 2012. Grabbing moments in between her career as an archaeologist and being a mommy and a wife, Liesbet bakes Belgian biscuits like speculoos in the tradition of her grandmother’s family who were bakers for several generations, but she gets the most creative satisfaction from decorating with royal icing. She bakes and decorates for occasional orders and at times for a crafters' market, but mostly for the enjoyment and challenge of trying out new things. To honor her family's baking legacy, Liesbet uses the family name to give a home to her baking pictures on Facebook: Stock’s – Belgian Artisan Bakes. Catch up on Liesbet's Toolbox Talk here.
Photo credit: Liesbet Schietecatte.
Tina DeLuca Tsourtsoulas is organizer and moderator of Cookie Connection’s Sweet Sharing program, a series of informal topic-focused chats with the some of the world’s brightest cookie stars. Born, raised, and educated in the United States before making a permanent move to Kastoria, Greece with her husband Dimitrios, Tina has always loved crafts and baking of one sort or another. Though she operated a bridal-baptismal store in Greece for more than 20 years, she decorated her first cookie only as recently as Christmas 2012 – and immediately fell in love! Self-taught, Tina attributes her cookie decorating development to blogs, YouTube tutorials, and, most importantly, the openness and support of the many wonderful people in the cookie world. Take a look at Tina’s work on her Facebook page, and explore the transcripts from her previous Sweet Sharing chats here.
Photo credit: Tina DeLuca Tsourtsoulas.