Five restaurant dishes worthy of the national spotlight
Every city or small town has that one special restaurant with a signature menu item or familiar favorite that makes it a huge source of hometown pride. In fact, some of the most innovative, inspiring dishes hail from family restaurants, neighborhood diners and food trucks across the country. Yet, these eateries don’t always get the credit or attention they deserve.
Each year General Mills Foodservice celebrates independent restaurants and food trucks, showcasing their one-of-a-kind menu items and those original dishes that their customers crave and can’t find anywhere else. The Neighborhood to Nation Restaurant Recipe Contest, now accepting entries for this year’s competition, includes a growing base of celebrated chefs and cooks who bring their creativity to the table every day.
As the contest marks its 5th year, here’s a look at five of the winning Neighborhood to Nation dishes from the past five years.
For her award-winning recipe, Jennifer Shearer of Press Bistro in Johnstown, Pa., took a twist on a classic Italian bread salad. Using Gold Medal™ Honey Cornbread Mix, she added brown sugar and poppy seeds before grilling the cornbread to make out-of-this world croutons. She then added strawberries, bacon bits, feta cheese, candied pecans, a drizzle of balsamic glaze and a garnish of basil and mint to the salad for a savory touch.
“The cornbread adds a sweetness that pairs well with the strawberries. There are several other savory items in the salad, so it is a nice balance,” Shearer says. “The texture is also appealing in a salad — it’s not the traditional bread crouton as it’s softer with a crumbly texture.”
Always looking for pie recipes that are quick and simple and make efficient use of ingredients, Nancy Butcher of Nutcracker 50’s Family Restaurant in Pataskala, Ohio, likes to experiment with cake or brownie mixes for unique pie possibilities. Her Chocolate Snickers™ Candy Bar Cookie Pie uses Gold Medal™ Chocolate Chocolate Cake Mix to make an indulgent cookie layer for this luscious flavor and texture combination that combines a candy bar, cookie and pie in one dessert.
Dennis Chan of Blue Bamboo
in Jacksonvile, Fla., came up with this signature dessert that takes its name from his home state — the Sunshine State — and the state fruit. The orange cake starts with Gold Medal™ Yellow Cake layers moistened with an orange sauce. They are then stacked between alternating layers of airy pineapple cream cheese icing and crisp baked Pillsbury Best™ Puff Pastry Dough
for a luscious creamy, crunchy Napoleon-style textured dessert.
“When someone thinks of our state, they often think of Florida oranges,” Chan says. “This recipe has varying textures of creamy, crunchy and crispy all layered with the goodness of Florida oranges in a comforting cake.”
Warm Up Your Oven
The Neighborhood to Nation Restaurant Recipe Contest is open to foodservice operators, chefs and line cooks who develop and prepare recipes for menu items served at independent, commercial restaurants or food trucks.
This year’s competition will honor 10 Regional Recipe Winners, two from each region, who will each receive $5,000 in cash and an additional $1,000 to share with a local charity of their choice. One of the 10 regional winners will also be named the Grand Prize Recipe Winner who will receive a total of $10,000 in cash and $2,000 to share with a local charity as well as a three-day trip for two to the 2019 New York City Wine & Food Festival, the premier food and wine event that celebrates America’s favorite foods.
General Mills will also travel to each regional winner’s hometown to host a festive celebration event at their restaurant or food truck as a way to recognize them in their communities.
Get Inspiration from Past Contest Winners and their Innovative Recipes
How to Enter