Hood® New England Dairy Cook-Off® Winner Announced

Dan Rinaldi of Cranston, Rhode Island wins $10,000 Grand Prize

Nov 07, 2011, 12:57 ET from HP Hood

PORTLAND, Maine, Nov. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- HP Hood crowned Dan Rinaldi, of Cranston, Rhode Island, the $10,000 grand prize winner in the 3rd Annual Hood® New England Dairy Cook-Off®. Rinaldi won with his recipe for Surf and Turf Sliders with Maine Lobster Sauce.  The Cook-Off was held at the Ocean Gateway Terminal in Portland, Maine, on November 6th.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20111107/NE01419)

"First and foremost, I'm a firefighter and then I'm a cook," said Dan Rinaldi, a 21-year veteran of the Providence Fire Department. "I'm lucky enough to cook for 16 fellow firefighters and they have always been ready to critique – and eat - my dishes. I am so excited to win the $10,000 grand prize and celebrate when I get back."

The competition began at 7:30 a.m. when 30 semifinalists competed in their individual categories.  The five categories were: breakfast/brunch, soups/chowders, appetizers/side dishes, lunch/dinner (entree) and dessert.  One amateur chef from each New England state competed in each category. Competitors had 60 minutes to prepare and plate their dishes.  All recipes were original and included at least one Hood dairy product and were judged based on taste appeal, presentation/appearance, and creativity/originality.

By 6:30 p.m., a panel of judges helped narrow the field from 30 semifinalists to five finalists. They were:

Breakfast/Brunch: Holly Campbell of New Boston, NH - Fruity Brickle Breakfast Biscuit Blintzes

Soups/Chowders: Mary Lou Dahle of Durham, ME - Creamy Fresh Tomato-Arugula Soup with Cheese and Basil Crostini

Appetizers/Side Dishes: Dan Rinaldi of Cranston, RI - Surf and Turf Sliders with Maine Lobster Sauce

Lunch/Dinner (Entree): Jessie Grearson of Falmouth, ME - Tandoori Express Chicken Naanwiches with Sour Cream Raita and Buttermilk Mango Lassi

Dessert: Marie Connor of Mystic, CT - Mystic Magic Chocolate Tart

"This year's event showcased an amazing day of cooking. It's great to find new and inventive ways to use Hood dairy products and we'd like to thank all of the home cooks who participated for making this an exciting competition," said Chris Ross, Vice President of Marketing, HP Hood. "The recipes gave our judges a challenge in selecting a winner but ultimately, Dan's Surf and Turf Sliders with Maine Lobster Sauce best met all of the judging criteria."

Billy Costa from the New England Cable News show "TV Diner" hosted the event as the finalists went head-to-head in front of a live audience for the $10,000 grand prize.  Yankee Magazine and Shaw's Supermarket were once again sponsors of the event.

The final round judges were Celebrity Chef Tom Pizzica; Patti Woods, an award-winning journalist and food blogger; J. Desmond Keefe III CEC, CCE, Culinary Instructor, Southern New Hampshire University; Peter Zoltai, Senior Director of Research and Development, HP Hood; and Amy Traverso, Senior Lifestyle Editor from Yankee Magazine.

Each of the semi-finalists received a prize of $100; each of the finalists, except for the winner, received $500.

About Hood

Founded in 1846, today Hood is one of the largest branded dairy operators in the United States.  Hood is the number-one dairy brand in New England, and Hood's portfolio of national and super-regional brands and franchise products includes Hood, Crowley Foods, Simply Smart Milk, Heluva Good!, LACTAID®, BAILEYS® Coffee Creamers, HERSHEY®'S Milk and Milkshakes, Fiber One® Cottage Cheese and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze®. For more information about Hood, please visit www.Hood.com.