Previous Neighborhood to Nation winners will tell you that this is no ordinary recipe contest. In addition to the cash prizes, the pride of winning and the buzz it creates for winners and their restaurants in their community often proves invaluable.
Anne Klingler, chef and owner of Outlanders in Marquette, Michigan, was the North Central Region Recipe Winner in the 2018 contest. Her Thai Basil Bowl not only caught the attention of the contest’s judges, but it earned Anne and her home-style, wholesome dishes some much-deserved attention in her local press that helped bring new business in the door.
Another bonus for winners of the Neighborhood to Nation contest is sharing a portion of their cash prize with a local charity—helping to spread the pride and joy of winning with their greater community. Anne chose Teaching Family Homes of Upper Michigan, a private, non-profit child welfare agency that provides a variety of services for children and families in need.
Read more about Anne and what she’s been up to since winning the Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest last summer.
General Mills: How is your restaurant doing? Is your winning recipe on the menu?
Anne Klingler: We are doing great! Yes, the Thai Basil Bowl is on the menu. We made a lot of noise last year when we won. We still have people coming in asking to try it for the first time.
GM: So, did winning the contest bring any additional customers through your door?
AK: Most definitely, yes.
GM: Why should restaurants like yours bite the bullet and enter the contest?
AK: They should do it for the potential publicity. Small restaurants have a hard time being recognized outside their own neighborhood. The win brought immeasurable attention to Outlanders. The win brought us national attention hard to achieve in our location of small-town USA. And, winning is a TON of fun!
GM: What else is new with you since last summer?
AK: We have made the “Economy of Family” as THE lens through which we will view all of our decisions as a restaurant. In this regard: 1) We are making more nutritious meals than ever in family portions to drive down what it costs each family member to eat a great meal, and 2) Our goal is to approach the pricing of fast food AND the warmth and good nutrition of home cooking in everything we do.
This is a journey for us. We will not always be perfect, but our family is aiming for it.
GM: What did it mean to you to be able to share a portion of your winnings with a non-profit in your community?
AK: When I was about 10 years old, I witnessed a cousin being abused. My 10-year-old self tried to stop it, but was told to shut up and sit down because it was none of my business. I’ve never gotten over that. Abused and neglected kids, then and now, end up living their lives in perpetual crisis mode, never quite figuring out why nothing ever works out right for them. The end result being they continue the cycle. Teaching Family Homes of Upper Michigan is an organization that works with kids and families from abusive, neglectful or crisis situations. They teach the skills necessary to deal with a troubled past, and build a foundation for a safe, successful future.
Learn more about Anne and Outlanders in this 2018 Neighborhood to Nation video.