LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With the help of celebrity Chef Ben Ford, Jeanette Nelson from Crab Orchard, West Virginia, won the annual DOLE® California Cook-Off grilling competition and grand prize of $10,000 for her winning recipe, the Taste of Dole Island Pork Sliders with Pineapple Jicama Salsa.
After the four-hour cooking event, Jeanette was one of three finalists flown out to Los Angeles to participate in the DOLE California Cook-Off along with runners-up Richard Swanson with his Banana Corn Crepes with Grilled Fruit and Ricotta recipe and Michelle Wiederhold with her Pineapple-Pork Quesadillas with Mandarin Crema recipe.
This year’s participants competed head-to-head in the 60-minute challenge using at least one DOLE product, up to seven additional ingredients and a gas grill to prep, cook and plate their unique and healthy-portion-sized small plate dish. Specially selected food blogger sous chefs also assisted each finalist to lend a helping hand including Pamela Braun, MyMansBelly.com; Erika Kerekes, InErikasKitchen.com; and Amelia Winslow, Eating-made-easy.com. All recipes were judged on their best use of DOLE products, creativity, flavor and taste.
Acclaimed grilling guru Ford kicked off the event with his famous Carrot Date Slaw recipe and wowed the audience with additional grilling demos. Guest judges joined Ford to help taste test the recipes and select the winner, including award-winning culinary diva Kristina Vanni, food blogger Shari Sacchi of TickledRed.com and Facebook sweepstakes winner Suzanne Bonner.
“Our finalists grilled up creative recipes that were nutritious, delicious and fun to make,” said Michael Contreras, spokesperson for DOLE. “We were very impressed with how each contestant took a staple dish and added a fresh twist, inspiring families to use DOLE products in new ways.”
The Cook-Off was held at The Grove in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 24, with an audience of thousands cheering on the finalists as they heated things up on Weber® grills, enjoying samples of DOLE products and watching the judges taste test the mouth-watering recipes to make a final decision.
“This competition has been on my bucket list, and to have my recipe selected by DOLE out of the hundreds of entries from across the nation is such an honor,” said Jeanette Nelson, 2012 Dole California Cook-Off Champion. “I still can’t believe I won! It is such a privilege to represent DOLE and an amazing experience.”
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About DOLE Food Company, Inc.
DOLE is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and is the leading producer of organic bananas. DOLE markets a growing line of packaged and frozen fruit and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.