Oct. 24 2022 10:20 AM

Professional Chefs Gather in Napa, Calif. to Showcase Italian-Style Cheeses from California, Compete for $27,000 in Prizes

The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.

The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) today announced the inaugural Global Flavors Culinary Competition, a foodservice event that celebrates the broad application of Real California cheese and dairy products in global cuisines. This year’s competition will provide “A Taste of Italy,” with a focus on developing classic and innovative recipes highlighting Italian-style cheese and dairy products from California.

Six professional chefs will compete for $27,000 in cash prizes and recognition as a global culinary leader in a cook-off event at the Culinary Institute of America at Copia in Napa, Calif. November 9, 2022.

“The diversity of California cheese and dairy items lend themselves well to global flavors and regional cuisines from around the world. California’s leadership in Mozzarella and Italian-style cheese production makes Italian cuisine an important area of focus for CMAB,” said Mike Gallagher, Business and Market Development Consultant for the CMAB. “We appreciate the innovation and passion of our chef community and are excited to see how these acclaimed chefs use California cheeses to bring their recipes to life.”

The chefs for this year’s inaugural competition are:

  • Jay Adams, Local Kitchen, San Francisco, Calif.
  • Jose Gutierrez, Herbs & Rye; Cleaver, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Giuseppe Musso, Michael’s Downtown Italian Kitchen & Café, Long Beach, Calif.
  • Freedom Rains, a Mano, San Francisco, Calif.
  • Gustavo Rios, Solage Calistoga, Sonoma, Calif.
  • Ismaele Romano, Via Focaccia, Las Vegas, Nev.

Each chef will compete in two categories: Il Classico and Il Fresco. The Il Classico category will require chefs to develop an original entrée inspired by classic Italian cuisine commonly found on restaurant menus nationwide. The Il Fresco category will ask chefs to provide a fresh, new take on Italian cuisine, crafting an original appetizer or dessert that demonstrates creativity and innovation.

The six chefs will use Real California cheese and dairy products as central ingredients in their two recipes and present their dishes side-by-side to an esteemed panel of professional judges for evaluation, including:

  • Nick Barrington, Executive Chef, East Lake Golf Club, and President of the American Culinary Federation, Atlanta Chefs Association
  • Neil Doherty, Corporate Executive Chef – Sr. Director of Culinary Development, Sysco
  • David Kamen, Former Executive Chef, and Director - Client Engagement, Culinary Institute of America (CIA)

The judges will score each recipe and name a winner and runner-up in each category based on established criteria which includes:

  • Emphasis on Real California Cheese and Dairy
  • Commercial viability of the dish
  • Recipe innovation and creativity
  • Overall flavor profile and texture
  • Presentation

Each category winner will receive a trophy and $5,000 prize. Category runners-up will receive $2,500, and each remaining finalist will earn $1,500, per category. CMAB will feature chefs and recipe content in ongoing promotion of California cheese and dairy at foodservice.

Details and updates about the chefs, competition, categories, and winning recipes are available at: https://caglobalcompetition.realcaliforniamilk.com.

California is a reliable, consistent source of sustainable dairy products used by chefs throughout the world. As the nation’s largest dairy state, California boasts an impressive lineup of award-winning cheesemakers and dairy processors who are helping to drive dining innovation. California is the leading producer of fluid milk, butter, and ice cream as well as Mozzarella, the premier Italian-style cheese for foodservice. California milk and dairy foods can be identified by the Real California Milk seal, which certifies they are made exclusively with milk from the state’s dairy farm families.