Food Marketing Institute (FMI) named the best supermarket chef in the country today, along with five category winners who participated in Supermarket Chef Showdown, the food retail industry’s unique competition for culinary talent. Elizabeth Davis, Hy-Vee Inc. was named the Grand Champion of the competition for her Yu Sheng Citrus Salad Platter for Chinese New Year.
Now in its third year, this competition attracted a record number of 300 recipes from supermarket chefs across the country. Fifteen finalist chefs competed across five categories in front of a live audience on the exhibit floor of FMI Connect, the annual FMI Show held in Chicago.
Food personality and 13-time James Beard Award winner, Steve Dolinsky, also known as “the Hungry Hound” from ABC 7 Chicago, acted as master of ceremonies for the event.
The chefs’ culinary creativity was tested as they prepared dishes in less than 25 minutes featuring products from Supermarket Chef Showdown sponsors, including McCormick & Co. Judges on the cook-off panel included Susan Westmorland, food director of Good Housekeeping at Hearst Magazines; Pat Cobe, senior editor of Restaurant Business Magazine; and Chef Philip Watson, executive chef at Green Acres Country Club in Northbrook, Illinois.
“Most of the time, we think about restaurants and celebrity chefs as the drivers of culinary trends,” said Dolinsky. “But the fact of the matter is that supermarket chefs are the talent behind the wide variety of delicious food that feeds millions of Americans every day. I’m so proud to be part of an event that highlights their significant contributions. These chefs are so impressive.”
“While the competition is fun, the real joy of this event is the chance to spotlight the spice that supermarket chefs bring to food retail,” FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin said. “As we all know, food is the great connector—bringing people together—and that is true even within a cooking competition.”
One winner was named for each category in the competition and was awarded a $1,000 cash prize. These winners included:
- Breakfast on the Go—Amy Gleason, chef at Hy-Vee Inc., for her Cinnamon-Scented Farro Breakfast Parfait.
- Holiday Platters—Elizabeth Davis, chef at Hy-Vee, Inc., for her Yu Sheng Citrus Salad Platter for Chinese New Year.
- Ethnic Dishes—Dustin Miller, chef at Giant Eagle Market District, for his Korean-Braised Short Ribs.
- Family Meals on a Budget—Jason Miller, corporate executive chef at Balducci’s Food Markets, for his Turkey Meatloaf “Provencal” with Sweet Potato Hash and Arugula Salad.
- Dessert—Bryan Williams, chef at Hy-Vee Inc., for his Red Curry and Coconut Bread Pudding.
Grand Champion Elizabeth Davis of Hy-Vee was awarded an expense-paid culinary immersion program for two at the Italian Culinary Institute in Calabria, Italy.
“We are pleased to offer classes at the Italian Culinary Institute to this top supermarket chef,” said Sarasin. “This opportunity will expand the chef’s professional knowledge and further develop skills to inspire more and more creativity in the prepared foods case. Food shoppers will be the ultimate winners.”
The FMI Supermarket Chef Showdown is made possible by sponsors, including McCormick & Co., Campbell Soup Co., The Hershey Co., Hillshire Brands Co., The J.M. Smucker Co., Mondelez International, The Pictsweet Co., as well as in-kind donations by Good Cook, Mariano’s, Charlie Baggs Culinary Innovations and Lowe Refrigeration.
The Supermarket Chef Showdown and Supermarket Chef Culinary Community are programs provided and owned by FMI.