By: David Fikes, Executive Director, FMI Foundation

Kellogg's Kroger Award

The food industry put both its best foot forward and its best food forward at the 2023 Stir It Up! event. The closing event of the 2023 FMI Midwinter Executive Conference, this fundraiser for the FMI Foundation featured six kitchens pitting their best menus against each other. In keeping with the evening’s theme of “Dinner and Movie,” the competing kitchens were challenged to choose a film that served as their menu and activation inspiration. Creativity abounded as the Hyatt Regency ballroom was transformed into a culinary wonderland containing a food truck from the movie Chef, Truvy’s Beauty Spot from Steel Magnolias, Julia Child’s kitchen from Julie and Julia, the festive plaza—complete with family memory making photo ops—from the animated hit Coco, and a globe hopping culinary trip found in Eat, Prey, Love.  

As proof that the movie theme was taken seriously in the menu making, take a look at the Godfather inspired offerings presented by team Hy-Vee, the Culinary Corleone Family:

  • For the family: Carbonara Aracini.
  • Revenge, a dish best served cold: Burrata Salad.
  • An Offer You Can’t Refuse: Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom Marsala over Noodles.
  • Strictly Business: Penne Rigate Pasta and Meatball with Red Sauce.
  • Leave the Gun, Take the Cannoli: Deconstructed Cannoli.
  • Vendetta: Charcuterie and Specialty Cheeses.
  • Big Shot: Cake Display.

Stir It Up participants walked the red carpet, stepped into a cinematographic festival and culinary feast enjoying a sea of activations from Unilever, J.M. Smucker, General Mills, Anheuser Busch, J & E Gallo, Robert Irvine Foods, and the Hershey Company surrounding the six kitchens battling it out spatula to spatula. At the end of a VERY filling evening, participants voted which kitchen –Hy-Vee; Wakefern/Nestle; Coca-Cola Company; Kroger/Kellogg’s; SpartanNash; or Meijer/PepsiCo—had the best meal AND which one most creatively executed its movie theme.


Aided by a bevy of food mascots – Tony the Tiger, the Pringle’s Guy, and Toucan Sam - the Kroger and Kellogg’s Team took home the top honors in Best Theme Execution for their interpretation of the Disney classic Coco. Perhaps voters felt a bit of ballot intimidation from the Culinary Corleones, but team Hy-Vee’s combined gangster flavors won the trophy for Best Meal.

My descriptions cannot do justice to the energy in the room, so to get a more complete picture of all the smiling faces, celebrity chef Robert Irvine’s antics, the fantastic menus, and the creative sights of FMI Foundation’s 2023 Stir It Up!, please check out the photo album.

Stir It Up! Photo Gallery

Bon appetite!!!