General Mills Foodservice announced that Jennifer Shearer, co-owner of Press Bistro in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, is the Grand Prize Winner in the 3rd 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” made the announcement today at General Mills’ headquarters in Minneapolis, where the top three Recipe 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, Shearer receives a $50,000 prize package ($40,000 cash plus $10,000 for a local charity of her choice). In addition, Amanda Freitag will pay a special visit to Press Bistro this summer.  Shearer’s winning recipe, a variation of a classic Italian bread salad, showcases her ability to successfully meld different flavors and cuisines. Using Gold Medal Honey Cornbread Mix, Shearer adds brown sugar and poppy seeds and grills the cornbread to make croutons that are tossed with strawberries, cucumbers, bacon bits, feta cheese, candied pecans, a drizzle of balsamic glaze and a garnish of basil and mint for a savory touch.

“Each of the top three recipes are winners in the Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest, but Grand Prize Winner Jennifer Shearer stands out for her creativity in rethinking a classic dish to make it her own,” says Alyca Judge, senior marketing manager for General Mills Foodservice, which supplies restaurants with high quality products to help make the signature dishes and familiar favorites their customers love. “The addition of brown sugar and poppy seeds provide a delicious flavor and unique texture to the cornbread croutons that serve as the foundation for her Strawberry Cornbread Panzanella—a dish that represents the type of originality and modern American fusion her restaurant is known for.”

The other 2017Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Winners include:

The First Place Recipe Winner, who receives $15,000, is Michael Minden of Michael V’s Restaurant & Bar in Tulsa, Oklahoma for his Butterfinger® Cream Cheese Brownie Pie.

The Second Place Recipe Winner, who receives $10,000 is Carrie Hudson of West Egg Café, in Atlanta, Georgia for her Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Turnover.

In addition to this year’s Recipe Winners, there are three individuals who received Honorable Mention honors for their recipes and will receive $500 cash as well as $500 to share with a charity in their community. They include:

  • Breakfast Honorable Mention: Donal Clark of Miller’s Seawall Grill in in Galveston, Texas for his Southern Cajun Shrimp ‘n Grits
  • Entrée Honorable Mention: Rebecca Alarcon of The Richmond Arms Pub in Houston, Texas for her Chilled Turkish Yoghurt Soup with Braised Lamb
  • Dessert Honorable Mention: Dennis Chan of Blue Bamboo in Jacksonville, Florida for his Pecan Hand Pie with Creamy Lemon Schmear

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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