ARLINGTON, VA – April 20, 2012 – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) is pleased to announce 20 culinary contenders from grocery retail that will compete in Dallas at the FMI Supermarket Chef Showdown, a dramatic culinary challenge integrated into the FMMI2012 food retail show program.

“These 20 retail chefs exemplify how supermarkets are more than a venue in which to shop – they have talented associates who breathe life into the menus for their customers,” FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin said. “FMI2012 is the best venue for us to shine the spotlight on how the food retail industry inspires as well as nourishes.”

The Recipe Contest segment of the competition closed on March 15, and 182 supermarket chefs registered for the contest, submitting a total of 357 recipes. In alignment with the official contest rules, supermarket culinary professionals submitted their recipes using the ingredients provided by the event’s title sponsor, McCormick & Co, Inc. and ingredient partners including, The Pictsweet Company, The Hershey Company, Campbell Soup Company, Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., Kraft Foods, Inc., J.M. Smucker Company and ConAgra Foods, Inc.

Emceed by the Supermarket Guru® Phil Lempert, the finalists will earn scores associated with flavor, presentation of food, creativity, consumer appeal and showmanship, assessed by several guest judges. Each day is themed, and the winners of the category competitions will then compete for the Grand Chef title on May 3.

“The quality of prepared food offerings differentiates supermarkets today, and it is giving the restaurant business a run for its money,” Lempert remarked. “And the reason is simple - supermarkets are delivering the tastes that families desire.”

Official FMI Supermarket Chef Program:

The Results: Category 1 – Ethnic

Tuesday, May 1 from 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. CDT

The competitors: John Depaolis, Giant Eagle, Inc.; Shornalee Banerjee, Harris Teeter Supermarkets Inc.; Alexander Strauss, Hy-Vee, Inc.; Brian Dunn, Roche Bros. Supermarkets, Co.; and Chris Wilson, United Supermarkets, LLC

The Results: Category 2 – Healthy Alternatives

Tuesday, May 1 from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. CDT

The competitors: Kara Behlke, Hy-Vee, Inc.; Richard Babcock, Hy-Vee, Inc.; Rachael Perron, Kowalski's Companies; Daniel Bonner, Publix Super Markets, Inc.; and Jose Vargas, Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc.

The Results: Category 3 – Indulgent

Wednesday, May 2 from 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. CDT

The competitors: Jason Miller, Balducci's; Keoni Chang, Foodland Super Market, Ltd.; James Alexander, Hy-Vee, Inc.; Chris Delise, Kings Super Markets, Inc.; and Mike Grimes, Publix Super Markets, Inc.

The Results: Category 4 – Family Meals

Wednesday, May 2 from 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. CDT

The competitors: Rob Dumont, Balducci's; Jennifer Gritters, Meijer, Inc.; Tim Donnelly, Publix Super Markets, Inc.; Amber Pruett, Publix Super Markets, Inc.; and Greg Roach, Wild Oats Markets, Inc.

Championship Challenge

Thursday, May 3 from 10:00 am - 11:30 am CDT

On May 3, the winner from each category will receive a $1,000 prize and will compete to determine the Supermarket Chef Showdown Grand Chef Champion who will receive a three-day professional development course at the Culinary Institute of America.

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For Media:

  • To view a list of the 20 finalists and their recipes, visit here.

  • For a schedule of the live cook-off at FMI2012 in Dallas, visit here.

  • To visit the online FMI2012 Media Center, visit here.