Food Marketing Institute (FMI) has announced the 25 finalists for the Supermarket Chef Showdown, the food retail industry’s competition for culinary talent. The finals, held June 11, 2014 at FMI’s new, annual show, FMI Connect, will determine five grand-prize winners and one overall champion.
The 25 contestants entered their recipes in one of five categories: Healthy Meals; Family Meals; Ethnic Meals; Dessert; and Side-Dishes/Mini Meals/Snacks. In order to qualify, the recipes used at least three eligible sponsor ingredients and took 20 minutes or less to prepare.
Among 130 entries, representing a record 30 different retailers, the finalists represent retailers from across the country, including: Balducci’s, Dorothy Lane Market, Farm Fresh Supermarkets, Foodland Super Market, FRESH by Brookshire’s, Fry’s Food Stores, Hy-Vee, Kowalski’s Markets, The Kroger Co., Meijer, Orchard Fresh, Publix Super Markets, Roche Bros. Supermarkets, Co., ShopRite, Whole Foods Market and Winn-Dixie. The reigning champion from the 2012 competition, Keoni Chang from Foodland Super Market, will also return to defend his title.
“Participating in and then winning the inaugural Supermarket Chef Showdown was extremely exciting, and one of the highlights of my career,” says Keoni Chang, Foodland Super Market Corporate Chef. “The competition is a great opportunity to gain wider recognition for the talents of Supermarket Chefs as we challenge ourselves to creatively incorporate sponsor ingredients into meals that satisfy our customers’ tastes . The atmosphere of a live cooking challenge is invigorating, and I am excited to participate this year at FMI Connect to defend my title of Grand Champion.”
Prizes include an all-expense paid trip for two to Mardi Gras 2015; an all-expense paid trip to California to participate in the olive harvest; a “Chicago experience;” an all- expense-paid trip to the Country Music Awards in Nashville; cash prizes; food-centric prizes; bragging rights and more.
Sponsors for this years’ Showdown include McCormick, Cans Get You Cooking, Campbell’s, ConAgra Foods, Hass Avocado Board, Hershey’s, Hillshire Brands, Mondelez International, Musco Family Olive Co., Pictsweet, Supermarket News and Smucker’s.