General Mills Foodservice announced that Christina Halstead, executive chef at the Café @ Williams Hardware in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, is the Grand Prize Winner in the second annual Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest, celebrating independent family or “neighborhood” restaurants and the one-of-a-kind dishes that reflect their local flavor. Celebrity Chef Amanda Freitag of Food Network’s “Chopped” and “American Diner Revival” made the announcement at General Mills’ headquarters in Minneapolis, where the top three Recipe Contest Winners gathered for a full day of festivities to celebrate their award-winning dishes.

As the Grand Prize winner of the Neighborhood to the Nation Recipe Contest, Halstead receives a $50,000 prize package ($40,000 cash plus $10,000 for a local charity of her choice) for her BLT on Pimento Cheese Buttermilk Biscuit with Red Pepper Jelly recipe, one of the specialty dishes she serves at the Café @ Williams Hardware—a casual café known for its delicious salads, sandwiches and soups, unique desserts, and hearty breakfasts. Halstead’s winning recipe includes a buttermilk biscuit with the perfect amount of pimento and cheese plus arugula, thick-cut bacon and a homegrown tomato—all topped with red pepper jelly.

“Grand Prize Winner Christina Halstead’s BLT sandwich demonstrates how to add local flavor and create a unique but familiar signature menu item,” says Melody Chang, senior associate channel manager of General Mills Foodservice. “Christina’s addition of pimento to a buttermilk biscuit gives the sandwich a Southern flair, and the combination of the spicy and buttery biscuit balanced with the tomato, arugula and jelly make for a flavorful and fun breakfast item.”

The other 2016 Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest Winners include:

The First Place Recipe Winner, who receives $15,000, is Dan Duris of Gypsy Café in Lincoln, New Hampshire, for his recipe for Waffled Salmon with Spicy Orange Maple Sauce.

The Second Place Recipe Winner, who will receive $10,000, is Nancy Butcher of Nutcracker 50’s Family Restaurant in Pataskala, Ohio, for her Chocolate Snickers Candy Bar Cookie Pie.

“The scores among this year’s Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest Winners and Finalists were extremely close,” Chang says. “All of the top six recipes were highly praised among our judges for their creativity and one-of- a-kind flavor.”

The 2016 Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest Runners-Up include:

Eileen Randman of Café at the Corner in Hapeville, Georgia, is the runner-up in the Breakfast Category for her Quiche de Fromage.

Yoshiharu Sogi of The Zina Lounge in Sonoma, California, is the runner-up in the Entrée Category for his Seared Salmon Millefeuille with Bacon Mushroom Filling and Fresh Herbed Butter Sauce.

Donal Clark of Miller’s Seawall Grill in Galveston, Texas, is the runner-up in the Dessert Category for his Italian Cream Cheese Cake with Amaretto Orange Peel.

To qualify for the Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest, restaurants from around the country submitted an original breakfast, entrée or dessert recipe using at least one ingredient from General Mills’ list of eligible products. The contest was open to foodservice operators, chefs and line cooks who develop and prepare recipes for menu items served at independent, commercial restaurants. Recipes were judged based on taste, appearance, creativity, and foodservice viability.

Neighborhood to Nation was created to inspire culinary creativity among independent restaurants, giving operators an opportunity to experiment with high-quality and consistent products from General Mills Foodservice as well as exclusive access to trend information, insights, and ideas to help them differentiate their menus and delight their diners. 

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