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Chefs compete on show floor at FMI Connect

Chefs compete on show floor at FMI Connect

Food Marketing Institute’s Supermarket Chef Showdown is set to take center stage in the exhibit hall this Wednesday at the FMI Connect conference at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The 24 chef finalists will be creating culinary concoctions in one of five categories: family meals, healthy meals, ethnic meals, side dishes and desserts. Each category will produce one winner, and one of the five will be declared the overall champion.

The purpose of the Supermarket Chef Showdown is to celebrate and promote — both to the industry and to shoppers — the culinary skills of the chefs who work for supermarkets throughout the country, Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru and host of the contest, told SN.

“This event really accentuates the ‘F’ in Food Marketing Institute in terms of creating excitement, taste and aromas.”

Winners will be named in each of the five categories, with one grand prize winner. (A 25th contestant was disqualified when he left his company.)

Each recipe was required to use at least three ingredients from 11 sponsoring companies, including Campbell’s, Cans Get You Cooking, ConAgra Foods, Hass Avocados, Hershey, Hillshire Brands, McCormick, Mondelez International, Musco Family Olive Co., Pictsweet and Smucker’s. (SN is also a sponsor.)

Participants in each category will include the following:

Family Meals

Jackie Biehl, executive chef at the Lee’s Summit, Mo., Hy-Vee, West Des Moines, Iowa, cooking cocoa-rubbed tri-tip with avocado salsa and roasted corn couscous.

Keoni Chang, from Foodland Super Markets, Honolulu, preparing Korean-style hot dogs with kimchi slaw and garlic sweet potato fries.

Edynael Montoya, from Bi-Lo, Mauldin, S.C., cooking Caribbean fish.

Jonathan Mortimer, Fry’s Food Stores, Phoenix, preparing artichoke-braised chicken.

Stacey Wertzberger, store chef for Hy-Vee, cooking Hawaiian meatloaf cupcakes.

Healthy Meals

Jen Gritters, corporate re search chef for Meijer Inc., preparing seared chicken with mango.

Jen Heringhausen, Hy-Vee, who will cook tomato basil burgers with avocados and carmelized onions.

Rachael Perron, culinary director for Kowalski’s Markets, Woodbury, Minn., preparing Greek grain salad with dilled feta dressing.

Nicolette Petty, executive chef at the Bettendorf, Iowa, store of Hy-Vee, preparing blackened mahi-mahi salad.

Ethnic Meals

Brian Dunn, corporate  culinary innovation chef for Roche Bros. Supermarkets, Wellesley, Mass., preparing beef mole tacos with avocado and corn salsa.

Andrew Kintigh, Hy-Vee, preparing Moroccan-style chickpea and kale stew with date gremolata.

Jason Miller, corporate executive chef for Balducci’s, Rockville, Md., cooking gazpacho with avocado cream and crispy serrano.

Amber Pruett, corporate recipe development manager for Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, Fla., preparing an Asian BBQ pork sandwich with edamame salad.

Carrie Walters, corporate chef and culinary director for Dorothy Lane Market, Dayton, Ohio, making avocado posole.

Side Dishes

Bob Hirasawa, Farm Fresh Supermarkets, Virginia Beach, preparing Virginia ham and blue crab sliders.

Erin Horton, executive chef for Orchard Fresh, Orchard Park, N.Y., a unit of Buffalo-based Tops Friendly Markets, preparing Mediterranean chicken meatballs.

Andre Nowading, responsible for the in-store chef program at Kroger Co., Cincinnati, making ramen tuna sliders.

Alex Strauss, Hy-Vee, making avocado chorizo poutine.

Art Wise, regional head chef for ShopRite Supermarkets, Keasbey, N.J., preparing potato chip-encrusted chicken breast with avocado-cilantro sauce.


Michael Brady, executive chef at Fresh by Brookshire Grocery, Tyler, Texas, making banana beignets.


Follow @SN_News for updates throughout the day.

Jessica Dolson, chef at  Hy-Vee’s Council Bluffs, Iowa, store, making pumpkin mousse with Chantilly cream.

Karen Johnson, manager of hot foods at Delaware Supermarkets, a ShopRite banner in Wilmington, Del., making pecan mascarpone cheesecake.

Luke Peters, executive chef  and catering manager for a Hy-Vee store for the past two years, making warm Oreo chia pudding.

Joshua Van Ryswyk, chef at a Hy-Vee in Windsor Heights, Iowa, preparing bananas Foster chocolate hazelnut dacquoises.

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