Meet the Judges: Hillary Mickell of

Hillary Mickell

Hillary Mickell, CMO of Foodily

With the HubPages Cookbook Contest underway, it’s a great time to introduce your amazing judging panel. We’re kicking off this blog interview series with a judge whose familiarity with recipes is unparalleled — Hillary Mickell, the CMO and Chief Tastemaker of popular recipe discovery site (and awesome mobile app)

I sent Hillary some questions to help us all get to know her a little better, as well as some great advice for writing contest-winning recipes.


Maddie: Tell us a little bit about Foodily and the inspiration behind it.

Hillary: Foodily stands for “Food, I Love You.” And I do. I love cooking for my family, but at 4:30, it’s a chore to figure out what I want to cook. Searching is painful, I want recommendations from my friends, then there’s what’s in my fridge and what time the kids are coming home etc. The list goes on and on. So my co-founder Andrea and I decided we need to fix the problem. We created Foodily so people could easily find great recipes from across the web, save them in collections, and see what their friends like. Cooking is fun again!

Maddie: What’s your favorite thing to cook at home?

Hillary: I make a mean pureed vegetable soup. Take whatever vegetables I get at the farmers market, potato leek base, then puree the whole thing. Different spices can take it any direction – ginger, cumin, coriander etc.

Maddie: What one piece of kitchen equipment could you never, ever live without?

Hillary: My micro-plane: I use it for zesting, parmesan cheese, nutmeg, chocolate.

Maddie: What key elements do you look for in a good recipe?

Hillary: Fresh fresh fresh! As long as I’m using seasonal, fresh ingredients, (not too many and not too complicated) I’m good.

Maddie: Any other final tips for Hubbers participating in the contest?

Hillary: People eat with their eyes. Nothing replaces a good photo.


Great advice from a judge who knows recipes inside and out! To learn more about Hillary and her favorite recipes, head on over to her Tastemaker blog on Foodily, and be sure to check out their awesome tools for easier recipe discovery!

Many thanks to Hillary for sharing her time and expertise with us. It’s going to be a great contest!



The HubPages Cookbook Contest

Can you believe it’s May already? With the weather getting warmer and a variety of fresh foods in season, we’ve decided to celebrate with a new contest: the HubPages Cookbook Contest!

This June contest will revolve around use of our new Recipe Capsules which include dedicated capsules for recipe ratings, yields and cook time, ingredients, instructions, and nutrition. The Recipe Capsules help to make your Hubs easier to read, plus more attractive search engines (we posted a special blog post with more thorough explanation of how that works)

To enter, all you have to do is publish a recipe Hub using at least the Ratings Capsule (set for recipes) between June 1st at noon (Pacific Time) and June 28th at 11:59 am. By entering, you’ll have a chance to win one (or more!) of 62 prizes worth $3,600.

14 prizes will be awarded each week during the contest, and six prizes will be awarded at the end:

  • $1400 in $50 Daily Drawing Prizes awarded to one randomly-selected recipe entry every day of the contest
  • $1400 in $50 Weekly Prizes awarded to the seven best recipe Hubs each week
  • $100 Best Dessert Recipe Prize for the best dessert recipe Hub
  • $100 Best Drink Recipe Prize for the best drink recipe Hub
  • $100 Best Family Recipe Prize for the best family meal recipe Hub
  • $100 Best Healthy Recipe Prize for the best healthy recipe Hub
  • $100 Best Budget-Friendly Recipe Prize for the best budget-friendly recipe Hub
  • $300 Grand Prize for the best overall recipe Hub

To qualify for these prizes…

While there is a good chance that you might win one of our 28 Daily Drawing prizes randomly, you’ll be able to boost your chances of winning a Weekly or Final Prize if you consider our judging criteria while crafting your entries. Our judges – experts in the culinary writing field – will be looking carefully for:

  • How well the Recipe Capsules are used (see our Learning Center guide to Recipe Capsules)
  • The usefulness of the recipe (summarized steps followed up by detailed instructions with step-by-step photos, variations, demonstrations) (see our Learning Center guide to writing successful Recipe Hubs)
  • The overall value of the recipe (additional background or history associated with the dish or recipe, use of the Recipe Capsules to share detailed nutritional information and ingredient information, etc.)
  • The presence and quality of original photos and/or video
  • Whether the entry is on a long-tail, niche recipe that has not been extensively covered online
  • Whether the entry has a search-friendly title (mirrors common search terms)
  • Excellent writing (proper use of grammar, capitalization, etc.)
  • Uniqueness of the entry (that it is not copied or paraphrased from elsewhere online, full of details, examples, names, and figures)
  • Attractive formatting (avoidance of excessive link, eBay, or Amazon capsule clutter, excessive bolding or italics, and all-caps)
  • Judicious use of other relevant Capsules

We’ll be announcing our special judges as the contest launch approaches. In the meantime, get cooking! You can always start drafts of your entries now and publish them throughout the month of June.

How to Create a Deliciously Good Online Recipe

Recipes are extremely popular on HubPages and the new Special Layout Options we offer can make these mouthwatering guides better than ever! As you give the new Recipe Capsules a try, we would like to share some best practices with you when it comes to crafting and sharing online recipes. Listen in to this week’s podcast (How to Write Great Recipes) for our expert advice on creating successful recipe Hubs.

Our top tips:

  • Only make a Recipe Hub if you have made that particular dish. The more you can convey the fact that you’ve actually made a dish, the better.
  • Make your instructions as original and detailed as possible. It is very difficult to defend the copyright of things like ingredients lists, however you can easily defend original, detailed instructions.
  • When you prepare a dish at home, photograph it! Original photos make a big difference, and it is much easier to get them before you start your Recipe Hub.
  • When taking photos for recipe Hubs, opt for natural light, avoid flash, and take photos of the preparation process as well as the finished dish.
  • Make sure that the first photo you display in a recipe Hub shows the finished dish.
  • When using the Recipe Capsules on HubPages, be sure to use the Ratings Capsule (set to a Recipe Rating). That part is mandatory if you want your Hub to enjoy special treatment in search engine results.
  • If you are writing a complicated recipe, use the Recipe Capsules to summarize ingredients and basic instructions at the top of your Hub, then go into detail below using Text Capsules (Special Layout Options capsules are best for short summaries).
  • Only use the Nutrition Capsule on HubPages if you can create an accurate calculation.

To learn more about using our dedicated tools for recipe Hubs, check out our Learning Center guides on Special Layout Options, the Recipe Capsules, and writing successful recipe Hubs. If you’re interested in writing recipe Hubs with a more social, kid-friendly skew to them, you might be interested in Kids Cook Monday. To join in on the fun, have a look at Maddie’s blog post with guidelines on participation.

Is there another specific type of other online article that you would like some tips on writing? Tell us about it! Send questions, suggestions, and comments to podcast-at-HubPages-dot-com.