General Mills Foodservice announced it will once again shine the national spotlight on independent family or neighborhood restaurants with the second-annual Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest. In addition, Chef Amanda Freitag of Food Network’s Chopped and American Diner Revival returns as the official host of the contest, which gives independent restaurants the chance to win up to $50,000 and the opportunity to get national recognition for their specialty dishes that reflect their local flavor.

The Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest is open to foodservice operators, chefs, and line cooks who develop and prepare recipes for menu items served at independent, commercial restaurants, and asks them to submit an original recipe using at least one ingredient from General Mills’ list of eligible products. The grand prize recipe winner will receive $40,000, as well as a $10,000 donation for a local charity. The first-place recipe winner will receive $15,000, and the second-place recipe winner will receive $10,000. All three finalists will travel to General Mills’ headquarters in Minneapolis June 21-22 to meet with Freitag for a day of celebration and inspiration, and the official grand prize winner announcement.

“The Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest gives independent restaurants an opportunity to shine, get recognized for their amazing food that showcases their local flavor, and potentially win a nice cash prize with a donation to help a charity in their own backyard,” Freitag says. “I look forward to this year’s finale celebration at General Mills and meeting this year’s finalists.”

Freitag has an impressive career that includes cooking alongside some of the world’s best chefs and working at prestigious New York restaurants including Cesca, Gusto, and The Harrison. In 2014, she opened Empire Diner with a menu of signature dishes along with classic American selections inspired by staples from diners across the country. Most recently, she authored her first book, “The Chef Next Door: A Pro Chef’s Recipes for Fun, Fearless Home Cooking.”

From January 4 to February 29, foodservice operators, chef and line cooks who develop or prepare recipes for menu items served to paying guests at independent, commercial restaurants maysubmit their favorite original breakfast, entrée or dessert recipes. They must use at least one ingredient from one of General Mills Foodservice’s participating brands: Pillsbury (biscuits and puff pastry), Gold Medal (baking mixes), and Yoplait (yogurt). Entrants can receive one $20 rebate for each recipe submission, up to a maximum of one rebate per participating brand during the entry period. The recipe contest ends February 28. Official rules are available online.

Recipes will be judged based on taste, appearance, creativity, and foodservice viability. Six category winners, to be announced in early June, will receive a Neighborhood to Nation contest prize package. From the six category winners, three will be named as finalists and travel to General Mills’ headquarters on June 21-22 for a day of celebration and culinary inspiration.

“Independent restaurants are known for their creativity and making extraordinary dishes, using back-of-house ingredients that they rely on every day,” said Alyca Judge, senior marketing manager. “We look forward to seeing the unique ways that restaurants are using products from General Mills to delight their customers to make these dishes.”

Chef Profiles, Industry News