Austin, Texas-based TEO Gelato took the $25,000 grand prize in H-E-B’s Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best contest. The gelato also won featured placement as a Texas Best Primo Pick. In addition to cash prizes, first-, second- and third-place winners will be considered for space on H-E-B shelves in 2016.
A panel of judges narrowed a field of 25 finalists to four winners Thursday. "The final presentations were a wonderful display of ingenuity and vision,” said James Harris, director of diversity and inclusion and supplier diversity for H-E-B, in a statement. “Our state is prime territory for smart, inventive food entrepreneurs further solidifying Texas’ national reputation as a foodie state.”
"Texas born, Italian trained Matthew Lee has mastered the craft of gelato using local, market fresh ingredients and a homemade base," said H-E-B, in a press release. "TEO Gelato’s signature flavors include Texas Pecan and Whiskey, Peanut Butter and Nutella, Poteet Strawberry and Texas Hill Country Peach."
Slaton Bakery’s Homemade Vanilla Wafers, Slaton, Texas, is the first-place winner, taking home $20,000. According to H-E-B, “Chad Wilson’s Slaton Bakery has been delivering sweet treats to West Texans for over 90 years! The bakery’s most popular and famous delights are the Homemade Vanilla Wafers — best served with banana pudding.”
The wafers are merchandised in at least one United store under a banana display.
The second place winner is Houston-based Blackbird Foods’ pies which won $15,000. The pies are inspired by the diverse food cultures of Texas and made with local ingredients. “Angela Rowley’s Blackbird Foods’ pies are diverse and feature small, fried Cajun Pies, meal size pies and hand pies,” said H-E-B.
The third place winner is Blackbird Bakery’s flour line consisting of six gluten-free blends from Donut & Fritter to Bread & Pizza to Cookie Jar, according to H-E-B.
The judges included Scott McClelland, president, H-E-B Houston; Winell Herron, H-E-B group VP of public affairs, diversity and environmental affairs; Scott Pettit, H-E-B director of selling; Bruce Robinson, H-E-B director of bakery, deli and foodservice merchandising; and chef Michael Skibitcky, dean of the H-E-B Culinary Academy and a former professor at the Culinary Institute of America. Criteria included product quality, marketability and readiness for production as well as the makers' suitability as retail suppliers.
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