SAN DIEGO, Sept. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Californians Jackie Dodd and Merry Graham today were named winners of the California Regional Finals of the Third Annual Foster Farms Fresh Chicken Cooking Contest held at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – San Diego. Each Regional winner received a $1,000 cash prize and will compete at the Finals in person on Sept. 28 at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in California's Napa Valley. A $10,000 grand prize and one-year supply* of Foster Farms fresh chicken will be awarded to the contest's Grand Prize winner.
During today's California Regional Finals cook-off event, four judges – Christine Ross, food editor at U-T San Diego, Lori Lange, editor of RecipeGirl.com, Susan Russo, editor of FoodBlogga.com, and Itica Milanes, reporter and weekend anchor with KGTV 10News – selected Jackie Dodd's Spice Rubbed Chicken Thighs with Chipotle Bearnaise and Avocado Lime Quinoa Salad and Merry Graham's Lemon-Hoisin Glazed Chicken on Roasted Asparagus and Cherry Sesame Rice as their top picks. Judges made decisions based on taste, use of fresh, local ingredients, appearance and appeal, simplicity and ease of making, and originality.
"Congratulations to Jackie Dodd and Merry Graham for bringing fresh California ingredients to life through their quality, creative recipes," said Ira Brill, director of communications for Foster Farms. "The culinary bar has been raised and our Finals event is shaping up to be our fiercest competition yet."
Nearly 1,200 home, amateur and professional chefs residing in California, Oregon and Washington submitted their prized, original, fresh chicken recipes for consideration. Jackie Dodd and Merry Graham will join Washington Regional Finalists Rebecca Cameron (Tea Rubbed Chicken with Apple Spinach Salad and Spicy Nuts) and Sandra Gray (Cherry and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Merlot Scented Lentils) and Oregon Regional Finalists Karen Bernards (Hoisin Chicken Thighs) and Judith Berman-Yamada (Cumin Chicken Paillards with Grape Tomatoes, Scallions and Wine) at the Finals. As a testament to Foster Farms' commitment to foods that are fresh, locally-grown, always natural and delivered fresh to stores in 48 hours or less, recipes featured Foster Farms fresh chicken and were inspired by local ingredients. For complete details, visit www.fosterfarms.com/cookingcontest.
As far as trend indicators, many of the recipes submitted this year were health-focused. Grains and legumes, such as quinoa, barley and lentils, were widely used to complement the fresh chicken. Many recipes also included rubs, several of which incorporated coffee or tea.
About Foster Farms
Since 1939, West Coast families have depended on Foster Farms for premium quality chicken products. Family-owned and operated, the company continues its legacy of excellence and commitment to quality established by its founders, Max and Verda Foster. Foster Farms specializes in fresh, all natural chicken products free of preservatives, additives or injected sodium enhancers. Based in California's Central Valley, with ranches also in the Pacific Northwest, the company's fresh chicken is produced in or near each region served and delivered fresh within 48 hours. Foster Farms also produces delicious pre-marinated, ready-to-cook and fully cooked products that meet the quality and convenience needs of today's home cooks, retailers, warehouse clubs and foodservice customers.
Food safety is Foster Farms' highest priority and the company would like to remind consumers to always follow safe handling, preparation and storage guidelines for the preparation of fresh poultry products. All fresh poultry products should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (boneless and ground) and 180 degrees F (bone-in). Visit www.fosterfarms.com to learn more.
*Grand Prize winner will receive 104 $10 vouchers good for fresh Foster Farms chicken.
SOURCE Foster Farms