The next time dinner on the table seems like an insurmountable challenge, think about this. There are home chefs out there who are making tons of dough right now through their own recipes. They say... See More
The next time dinner on the table seems like an insurmountable challenge, think about this. There are home chefs out there who are making tons of dough right now through their own recipes. They say you don't need any fancy trick, no fancy connections, just some creativity. So how exactly do they do this? And can you do it, too? . Reporter: Tina barelli is a mom of two, a substitute teacher, and a millionaire. I won $1 million. Reporter: There's that giant $1 million check hanging right above her washer and dryer. If you like to cook and if you like food and if you're creative, you can do this. Reporter: And make a bit of money? I was trying to figure out how to bring a little money into the house. Reporter: You husband must have been thrilled with you. I don't think he expected me to win. I didn't expect me to win. It's amazing. Especially in these times that we're in. Reporter: It's all part of a cooking renaissance. Fuelled by TV shows like "Top chef." And best selling cookbooks by celebrity chefs. Cooking has become big business. But it's not just celebrities cashing in. Tina's recipe for success, she entered a recipe contest and won. And not only that, she's won smaller cash prizes such as free groceries. Now she's working on a top secret pizza recipe that could win her a trip to Italy. Do you think it's realistic that other stay at home moms or even people with a full-time job could actually enter contests? Yeah. I'm just your total Normal, you know, mom and I do my laundry and, you know, this is just making dinner for the family, but in a creative way. Reporter: Big brands like Pillsbury, Betty crocker, even lays potato chips put on these contests to hype up new products and give shoppers ideas how to use familiar products in new ways. Cooking central.com scour the net and send members the biggest contests. Christina runs the site and says there are more than 500 contests and $3 million in cash and prizes just waiting to be won every year. There's a lot to be won out there. You've just got to go claim your piece of pie. And do you ever wonder how those celebrity chefs come up with all those recipes in the cookbooks? Sometimes they don't. I'm just going to mix a little bit of this stuff together. Reporter: Denise says she's a cookbook ghost writer. She writes, develops and photographs some of the recipes. Gorgeous. Reporter: The secret is out. She charges between $200 and $400 Peres pea. -- Per recipe. Why does a celebrity hire someone else to write their recipes? Many reasons. They don't have time to write their own. Two, they are the brand and they are very busy selling the brand. You know, they don't have any extra time. Reporter: She won't divulge most of her client, but one who stepped forward, Suzanne somers. But ghost writing may not be as easy as you think. Meet former ghost writer and new York times dining reporter, Julian moskin. A goal writer is someone who is able to efface themselves. You don't have a voice. You're a mouthpiece for the person. Reporter: Vivaldo's secret on how to get your name out there for the stars to find? Create a food blog, complete with recipes and photos and market it to publishers. She says it worked for her. No one is more surprised by my success than me. Reporter: Her tip for culinary success? . What makes a winning recipe is pretty much what people already know how to do but just a little bit of a tweak that comes with knowledge and comes from having done it for years. Reporter: Another way to make money, come up with a new product. Erica has a secret sauce -- a kech-up alternative made from fruits instead of tomatoes called what else? Not ketchup. My kid's favorite is definitely the cherry chipotle. It has a little spice to it. Reporter: She packages and ships right from her home. Loading up her van, proudly displaying her logo on the side. Traveling grocery store to grocery store selling it. She's in in talks with a big box retailer to sell not ketchup nationwide. But her goal -- I want to be on Oprah's favorite things loos list. If you're watching, I'm out there. Reporter: The fun comes from trying the recipes ourselves. As for making a living out of creating recipes? In the real world, it's difficult for a housewife or a guy with a grilling recipe to earn money winning contests. I think a few people can make a living by entering contests, but they need to be people willing to do the spread sheets with the deadlines and to track all of the ingredients that they need for each recipe. Reporter: But the even harder part? Facing a tough panel of critics. Your family. Up with, two, three. Reporter: The verdict? It's good. It's good. I wouldn't change anything. I like it a lot. Reporter: The sweet taste of victory. Thanks for that report.
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