But she has since upgraded, having been asked by the CEO of the 6th Annual World Food Championships to be a Top 10 Judge in November.
The 2017 World Food Championships, to be held Nov. 8 to 12 in Orange Beach, Ala. with $300,000 in prize money, will highlight some of the most iconic cuisines around the globe. Categories include barbecue, chili, sandwich, burger, dessert, bacon, seafood, steak and recipe. As in years past, the recipe category is based on a theme of food. The theme for the 2017 World Recipe Championship this year is chicken.
Reacting to being named a top 10 judge, Baron noted the position has no material rewards.
“While it's a great honor and a fantastic opportunity to further my career, it does not pay anything, not even travel expenses,” said Baron. “There is no pay whatsoever. It's a volunteer position.”
So why is she doing it then?
“You do it because you love barbecue, and because it's fun to do,” Baron said. “You meet great people. I'm trying to turn it into other opportunities.”
Besides, added Baron, “I'm the only one (judge) from San Diego in this year's competition, whereas last year, we had the owners of two different restaurants as judges.”
Baron said WFC is a big deal.
“This is the sixth annual WCS, and there will be some 400 competitors from all over the world,” she said, adding she judged at the competition, in a lesser capacity, three years ago when it was in Las Vegas.
Baron has all the right credentials for her post.
“I was sanctioned and taught by the Kansas City Barbecue Society,” she said.
KCBS is A nonprofit dedicated to promoting and enjoying barbecue. It is the world's largest organization of barbecue and grilling enthusiasts with more than 20,000 members worldwide. KCBS sanctions over 500 barbeque contests worldwide, as well as serving as a clearinghouse of barbecue information.
“You would not believe it, KCBS sanctioned me, and I was trained by them five years ago,” Baron said. “I took their class that I had to apply for on a website.”
To defray expenses, Baron has received sponsorships from local businesses including OB Noodle House, Mother's Saloon, Raglan Public House, Beach Sweets, Specialty Produce, BBQ House and Te Mana Cafe.
“I figure expenses between the flight, hotel and a rental car to be approximately $1,200 to $1,500 for the four days I'm there,” Baron said adding, “Any amount deemed feasible that you can help me with would be greatly appreciated.”
Characterizing herself as the “Baroness of Barbeque,” Baron and Michael Gardiner are on a podcast titled All Forked Up at podparadise.com.
In her “spare” time Baron is an archaeologist, as well as having been a working musician in the past.
“Someone asked me if I was a renaissance woman, and I said, 'Yes, that's me, it just seems to make sense,' ” said Baron, who credits OB for being a positive influence.
“I ended up in OB where there are so many creative types,” she said adding, “I love living here.”