We love to keep in touch with our Neighborhood to Nation family of winners to learn how the recipe contest has impacted their business, if their award-winning dish continues to be a hit and what’s next for them.
In the short time since the she was named Second Place Winner in the 2017 contest, Carrie Hudson of West Egg Café in Atlanta has been on a roll. After wowing our judges with her Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Turnover that won the Breakfast Category and ultimately earned her a $10,000 cash prize, Carrie has appeared on Atlanta TV stations, tried out for a Food Network show and pursued new business opportunities for West Egg Cafe.
“Our special event business is exploding, creating amazing opportunities to connect with our guests on a more personal level,” said Carrie. She is also actively evaluating farmer's markets for West Egg to participate in next season—hopefully bringing her award-winning recipe full circle to where it all started.
Carrie’s savory hand pies took off at a local farmer’s market as market-goers loved her use of fresh, seasonal produce in pastries. Her creativity and passion for local produce paid off, putting her in the spotlight and showcasing the spirit behind “Neighborhood to Nation!”
West Egg’s chef Carrie Hudson, the $10,000 Winner in the 2017 Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest.
General Mills: How has winning the contest impacted you and West Egg?
Carrie Hudson: Since the contest, I have had several interviews with our local news outlets. A television interview with CBS Atlanta on “Plugged In” definitely drew guests into West Egg and increased the sales of our turnovers. Recently, I tried out for Food Network's Spring Baking Championship! One of the reasons I was on Food Network's radar for contestants was due to the publicity about the Neighborhood to Nation contest. It has been really exciting and actually created more opportunities for West Egg and I to shine!
GM: Are you still serving your award-winning recipe?
CH: Absolutely, we are still serving the turnovers! Throughout the year, I rotate the flavors of our turnovers to ensure they are seasonal. I am excited to have butternut squash coming back into season locally, the flavor becomes so much richer and sweeter in the turnovers.
Carrie’s award-winning recipe combined thyme-seasoned squash and creamy goat cheese wrapped in Pillsbury™ Puff Pastry.
GM: Do you use the Puff Pastry for any other menu items or for other variations of your hand pies?
CH: Since the contest I have continued to use the puff pastry for other flavors of turnovers. I appreciate that the puff pastry sheets provide ease of use, consistency and practicality for our busy pastry department.
GM: So, it sounds like you think there is a place for some readymade products even in a chef’s kitchen….
CH: I take pride in making everything from scratch; however, products like Pillsbury Puff Pastry Sheets and Easy Split Southern Style Biscuits really allow me more time to shine. They are consistent vessels to cultivate my creativity! The puff pastry sheets are like a silent partner to my work, reassuring me with their golden buttery layers. These products save hours of production time, they are exceptionally consistent, store very well and can even save money.
GM: What has winning this contest meant to you?
CH: Winning this contest has been a career high, a very validating experience and one in which I will continue to build on for years to come.
Want to add puff pastry to your menu? Learn how Pillsbury™ Puff Pastry brings big potential to small plates!
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