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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane’s Ricky Webster wins ‘Snoop & Martha’s Very Tasty Halloween’ on Peacock TV

To quote the incomparable RuPaul, “You’re a winner, baby!” Ru could certainly have been referring to Spokane chef, baker, Rind and Wheat owner and new  Spokesman-Review weekly Food columnist Ricky Webster, who has just won his fourth cooking competition in four years.

Webster won Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart’s “Snoop & Martha’s Very Tasty Halloween,” which is streaming on Peacock premium, creating Halloween-themed culinary masterpieces, hundreds of sweet treats and “fortresses of fondant” alongside teammates Jodi Johnston of Wenatchee and Matthew Marotto of Jersey City, New Jersey.

Webster won “Christmas Cookie Showdown” on Food Network in 2018, “Christmas Cookie Matchup” on Hallmark Drama in 2019, the Real California Dairy Pizza Competition in 2020 and now “Snoop & Martha’s Very Tasty Halloween.” He also competed in Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars” in 2011 and “Holiday Gingerbread Showdown” in 2018.

Webster chatted about the $20,000 “Snoop & Martha’s Very Tasty Halloween” win (it will be shared among the victorious trio) over breakfast at Elliotts an Urban Kitchen – here are excerpts from the interview:

How did this opportunity come about with Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg?

I had no idea it included them! A friend of mine from “Christmas Cookie Matchup” on Hallmark Drama, Jodi Johnston, she was one of my competitors and a fellow Washingtonian, called me this summer and asked if I wanted to compete with her on this Halloween or Christmas show. I told her I’d be interested. It sounded really fun.

We were cast, and what started as a three-day commitment turned into a weeklong shoot in Los Angeles because of the delta variant. We had to be quarantined an extra four days in a hotel room. We took eight COVID-19 tests during this span. They were very cautious, and I knew that there was a lot of money involved in this show.

When did you find out that Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg were involved?

When they walked on the set! They wanted our real reactions. They kept saying, “There’s a lot of money. These are big names involved.” I had speculated that it was Martha Stewart because it’s a lifelong dream to work with her. She is my No. 1 living idol.

Martha is the Queen of Halloween, and I’ve been watching her since I was a kid. Her Halloween décor is classy and realistic. It’s not kitschy, it’s whimsical and frightening. They told us to make certain that our displays are easy to walk through. After that, I knew it would be her because she tore her Achilles tendon this summer and is in a boot. It was surreal when she walked on the set.

What was it like working with Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg?

They’re big names, and they’re two larger-than-life personalities. They weren’t sitting there the whole time watching us work, and Martha had her mobility issues. But it was great. Our station was the first one they visited. Martha’s hands were in all the stuff because she wanted to know about everything.

She asked if she could have one of my cookies, and I was like “Oh my God, it’s happening!” She told me it was one of the best almond sable cookies she had ever tasted. She was very sweet and kind. Martha grabbed Snoop and said, “You need to taste this, too.” That was one of the highlights. Alvin Zhou of BuzzFeed’s Tasty was also a judge.

What did you have to create in the competition?

All the teams really went all out, and it was one of the largest culinary projects I’ve ever worked on alongside creating a life-sized gingerbread house here in Spokane. We had to fill a 12-foot-by-12-foot space with certain areas being as tall as 6 feet. We had to have 1,000 tasting elements and treats, as well as showstopping cakes and sugar work.

Matthew Marotto of Jersey City and Jodi Johnston of Wenatchee were my teammates, and of the nine total competitors, eight of us has taken part in competitions before. There were recognizable faces and people I had competed against before.

The themes were “Fear” and “A Very Tasty Halloween,” and the invitation was a decrepit old box. When I opened it, all these moths flew out, which scared me, and our instructions were on a scroll. Jodi had a lot of ideas and really wanted to go big.

We had two to three weeks of prep time. You’ll have to watch the show, but here’s a hint of what our team, Bone Appetit, created: Think “Cabin in the Woods” and a dinner party. We went wacky, wild and out there, and we incorporated a lot of color. It was very different from the other two teams and what they chose as Halloween inspirations.

What’s next for you?

We’re coming up on the first anniversary of Rind and Wheat, and we’re reconfiguring things so that we’re here for many years to come. I’m excited for the holidays because it’s a time to get especially creative and have fun. Being in it every day and working hard and seeing the rewards is something that I really enjoy.

And Martha said my tooth bonbon was exquisite and could be on Madison Avenue. That was one of the highlights of my career.