Chefs across Georgia will soon reveal new layers of their own talent as well as the versatility of the Vidalia Onion.
Kicking off the 35th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival in Vidalia, Ga., the inaugural Golden Onion professional cooking competition will be held on Sunday, April 22, 2012. This new professional cooking competition showcases the Vidalia Onion and offers a platform for chefs across Georgia to display their skills and creativity.
“We are excited to discover the creative ways that chefs across Georgia utilize Vidalia Onions,” says Wendy Brannen, executive director of the Vidalia Onion Committee. “This event promotes Georgia as the home of the Vidalia Onion and also provides a platform for chefs to show off their skills while demonstrating the versatility and great flavor of Vidalia Onions.”
Golden Onion competitors will have one hour to prepare and present a recipe that features Vidalia Onions. Dishes will be judged on the basis of taste, presentation and creativity.
“We’re excited about the professional cooking element that the Golden Onion competition adds to the Vidalia Onion Festival,” says Ingrid M. Varn, executive director of the Vidalia Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “This is an exciting opportunity for chefs across Georgia to roll up their sleeves and show us what they can do with our official state vegetable. And we’ll make the chefs’ recipes available to encourage folks to try new uses for Vidalia Onions at home in their own kitchens.” Printed booklets featuring all of the competitors’ recipes will be available for purchase for $10 at the competition and at the 35th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival.
Twelve chefs are able to compete and have the option to work with one assistant. To be eligible, competitors must be lead chefs (with job titles such as executive chef, chef de cuisine, chef/owner) for a free-standing restaurant in Georgia. Chefs working at restaurants associated with a luxury country club, resort or hotel are also eligible.
The First Place champion will be awarded the Golden Onion trophy, an exclusive honor to hold for one year. The trophy must be surrendered the following year to the next winner. The First Place champion will also receive a cash prize of $500. The second place winner will receive $250 and the third place winner $100. All winners will also receive commemorative plaques.
The Golden Onion competition is presented by the Vidalia Onion Festival Committee in cooperation with the Vidalia Onion Committee, Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Georgia Restaurant Association. It was conceived by Atlanta-based freelance food and travel writer/editor Hope S. Philbrick, who will serve as one of five judges.