Independent family or “neighborhood” restaurants once again have the chance to win a $50,000 grand prize in the 3rd annual Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest from General Mills Foodservice. In addition, celebrity chef Amanda Freitag of Food Network’s “Chopped” returns to help judge and host the recipe contest that gives independent restaurants the opportunity to get national recognition for their one-of-a-kind dishes.

General Mills Foodservice, which supplies restaurants with high quality products to help make the signature dishes and familiar favorites their customers love, created the Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest to celebrate this distinct segment that doesn’t often get a lot of recognition. The contest is open to foodservice operators, chefs and line cooks who develop and prepare recipes for menu items served at independent, commercial restaurants.

“Independent restaurant operators are truly unsung heroes. By serving food we love to eat in a welcoming environment, their restaurants are often the backdrop for many of life’s important moments and serve as a special gathering place in our communities,” says Alyca Judge, senior marketing manager for General Mills Foodservice. “The Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest showcases the local dishes that these smaller, independent and often family-operated establishments serve up every day as well as the important role these restaurants play in their community.”

To participate in the Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest, entrants need to submit an original recipe using at least one ingredient from General Mills’ list of eligible products. Three recipe winners will be named, one for each category (breakfast, entrée or dessert), along with three honorable mentions. The Grand Prize Recipe Winner will receive $40,000 in cash, a $10,000 donation for a local charity of their choice and a visit to their restaurant from Freitag.

The First Place Recipe Winner will collect $15,000 and the Second Place Recipe Winner will receive $10,000. In addition to the opportunity to share their news and celebrate their recipe with their local community, the three winners travel to General Mills’ headquarters in Minneapolis in June to meet with Freitag for a day of celebration, inspiration and the official Grand Prize winner announcement. In addition, three honorable mentions will be awarded $1,000: $500 for themselves and $500 to share with a local charity.

“I am so excited to return as the host of the Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest and celebrate independent restaurants, which are truly the heart and soul of their community,” says Freitag. “It is always inspiring to see the amazing dishes created using General Mills ingredients, and I look forward to sampling the winning dishes and meeting the 2017 winners in Minneapolis in June.”

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. In 2015, she authored her first book, “The Chef Next Door: A Pro Chef’s Recipes for Fun, Fearless Home Cooking.”

From January 5 to February 28, foodservice operators, chef, and line cooks who develop or prepare recipes for menu items served to paying guests at independent, commercial restaurants may submit their favorite original breakfast, entrée or dessert recipes. They must use at least one ingredient from General Mills Foodservice’s participating brands: Pillsbury (biscuits, puff pastry and pot pie dough), Gold Medal (baking mixes), Yoplait (yogurt) and Mountain High (yogurt). The submissions close February 28. Official rules are available online at

Recipes will be judged based on taste, appearance, creativity and foodservice viability. Finalists will be announced in May, including three recipe winners who will travel to General Mills’ headquarters in June for the official Grand Prize winner announcement.

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