Local Finalist Is in ‘Today’ Show Cook-Off

Alana Leland

Alana Leland of East Hampton is one of three finalists in a “Today” show recipe contest, Joy’s Wine Country Cook-Off. During a taping of the show yesterday she was to find out if she won. The segment will air at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

“It’s all been very exciting,” said Ms. Leland, an office manager at Bates Masi Architects who decided to enter the competition because of the prize on offer: a trip for two to a Napa Valley food and music festival. Home chefs were asked to submit recipes for healthy dishes. Ms. Leland’s is for sweet potato and quinoa tacos. “It’s a recipe I’ve made about a dozen times over the past two years,” she said. 

Joy’s Wine Country Cook-Off is presented by Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, “Today” hosts, and Joy Bauer, a nutritionist and frequent contributor to the program.  

It was while browsing through Ms. Bauer’s Instagram account recently that Ms. Leland began to suspect her submission was faring well in the competition. “I saw Joy making the tacos,” she said.  

Later, a “Today” staffer called and confirmed she was a finalist. The three contenders for the prize will appear together in the studio, and, while the cameras are rolling, a winner will be announced.  

Should she win, Ms. Leland will be asked to prepare the dish on camera. She is not nervous about that possibility, she said, because “it’s a simple recipe and I’m used to making it with two kids chasing me around the kitchen.” 

Whatever the outcome, Ms. Leland said that her main goal — to have fun — has been accomplished. 

Still, she said, “I hope you writing a story doesn’t jinx me.”