PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Oregonians Russell Kool of Hillsboro, OR and Timmy Baker of Eugene, OR today were named winners in the Oregon Regional Finals of the Second Annual Foster Farms Fresh Chicken Cooking Contest held at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland this morning. These two Finalists each won a $1,000 cash prize and will compete at the Finals in person on September 30, 2011, 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 Regional Competition, judges Katherine Miller, editor of The Oregonian's FOODday section and blog, Hayley Platt, co-host on KOIN Studio 6, Jennifer Heigl, managing editor of Daily Blender, and Lisa Schroeder, executive chef and owner of Mother's Bistro & Bar, selected Russell Kool's Crispy Basil Skinned Chicken Breast with Peach Pink Peppercorn Compote recipe and Timmy Baker's Pan Fried Chicken with Blueberry Pinot Noir Reduction and Goat Cheese Polenta recipe as their top picks based on their use of fresh, local ingredients, including Foster Farms locally grown chicken. Judges made decisions based on taste, use of fresh, local ingredients, appearance/appeal, simplicity/ease of making and originality. Guests in attendance selected contestant Megan Futrell's Chicken and Mushroom Ragout recipe for the "People's Choice Award" for best use of local ingredients.
Nearly 2,000 home, amateur and professional chefs residing in Oregon, Washington and California submitted their prized, original, fresh chicken recipes for consideration. Russell Kool and Timmy Baker will join Washington winners Tina Hoban of Bellingham and Rebecca Spence of Vancouver, along with California's to-be-determined winners, 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.
As far as trend indicators, many of the recipes submitted this year called for whole chicken and boneless, skinless thighs; boneless, skinless breast recipes were featured in the majority of recipes. Contestants also often incorporated fruits, such as cherries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, figs and pineapples. Quinoa, couscous and panko were popular accompaniments and turmeric and Asian spices were prevalent in many recipes. For complete details visit www.fosterfarms.com/cookingcontest/.
"After a successful event in Washington, we were again impressed by the regional talent in Oregon," said Ira Brill, director of communications for Foster Farms. "Both Russell Kool and Timmy Baker exceeded our expectations for quality and creativity with their inspired use of ingredients central to Oregon cuisine. We wish all our winners the best of luck at the finals in just a few weeks."
For more than 70 years, Foster Farms has been providing fresh chicken to West Coast consumers. The company remains family-owned by the Foster family, and holds true to its commitment to fresh and natural poultry grown local to each region. The company works closely with 32 local, family-owned farms throughout Washington and Oregon to provide chicken to Washington families. All Foster Farms chicken sold in the Pacific Northwest is processed at its Pacific Northwest headquarters in Kelso, Washington and delivered fresh to your store in 48 hours or less.
About Foster Farms and its commitment in the Pacific Northwest
Growing chicken this way allows us to support regional agriculture and local communities. Our farmers share Foster Farms' commitment to quality and humane growing practices – a commitment that began when Max and Verda founded the company more than 70 years ago. Our Kelso, Washington processing facility employs 750 men and women, and wherever possible sources materials, equipment, and services from local companies. We're proud of our commitment to the Pacific Northwest.
Working with family farms close to where our customers live is the right thing to do. It means that our chicken is delivered fresh to your store in 48 hours or less, instead of sitting on trucks for four days or more like chicken raised in states as far away as Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi. Foster Farms fresh chicken has quality you can taste, with no need to "plump" -- no added salt or saltwater. And being locally raised means a smaller carbon footprint -- and that's good for the environment. For more information, visit www.fosterfarms.com/pnw.
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 and 170 degrees F (bone-in: breast and drums; thighs and wings). Visit www.fosterfarms.com to learn more.
*Grand Prize winner will receive 104 $10 vouchers good for fresh Foster Farms chicken.
SOURCE Foster Farms