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California Milk Advisory Board Announces Winners of Great Mozzarella Showdown; Mike Gallagher Comments

California Milk Advisory Board Announces Winners of Great Mozzarella Showdown; Mike Gallagher Comments

Monday, April 29th, 2024

The results are in! The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) revealed the winners of the Great Mozzarella Showdown online foodservice contest. Professional chefs and culinary students rose to the challenge to develop innovative dishes using California Mozzarella in a way that may well inspire many of us.

Mike Gallagher, Business and Market Development Consultant, California Milk Advisory Board“The response to this inaugural contest was tremendous—we were inspired by the many explorations of how a versatile ingredient like California Mozzarella can be used for more than pizza and pasta dishes,” said Mike Gallagher, Business and Market Development Consultant for the CMAB. “It points to the innovation we can achieve by partnering with chefs and the next generation of culinary professionals. We appreciate how they find ways to elevate our quality California products.”

Finalist chefs each received $2,000 for their entries. A digital recipe book with detailed recipes of the eight dishes will be available in May 2024. In addition to category champion status, each winning chef received $4,000–$2,000 for being named a finalist and an additional $2,000 for winning their respective category.

The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) has revealed the winners of the Great Mozzarella Showdown online foodservice contestCongratulations to the 2024 Great Mozzarella Showdown Recipe Contest finalists! They are as follows:

Fresh Mozzarella Category

CATEGORY WINNER: Burrata-Ganoush Skewers – Rebecca Peizer, All Things Culinary, Napa, CA

This dish features crispy, za'atar-spiced Real California Fresh Mozzarella skewers with a rich Stracciatella-Ganoush spread on grilled lavash. Topped with a fresh, vibrant salad.

Mozzamasala – Ryan Ososky, Dtown Pizzeria, West Hollywood, CA

A rich and creamy Indian-inspired dish, this finalist combines Real California Fresh Bocconcini Mozzarella balls with fresh peas and an aromatic tomato-onion sauce. Seasoned with warming spices like garam masala, vadouvan, and turmeric, this savory dish is simmered with Real California heavy cream.

Fresh Mozzarella Meatball – Jay Abrams, Full Heart Hospitality, San Francisco, CA

A juicy meatball made with ground chicken thigh, stuffed with a creamy Real California Fresh Mozzarella center, and topped with Burrata and shaved “string cheese cracklings”—each meatball is served on a pool of smoked tomato jam.

The Mighty Mozzarella – Jason Triail, The Habit Burger, Orange, CA

A gourmet twist on a classic burger, this recipe features a pistachio-crusted Real California Fresh Mozzarella patty, prosciutto, and arugula on an “everything seasoning” bun. Layered with a rich tomato confit, Calabrian chili aioli, and a touch of balsamic glaze, the burger is finished with a torch-melted slice of Real California Fresh Mozzarella and crispy fried basil.

Mozzarella Category

CATEGORY WINNER: Quesabirria Egg Rolls – Mike Castaneda, Devour/The Dore, Wellington, KS

This dish combines rich and flavorful birria beef with Real California Mozzarella cheese, wrapped in an egg roll wrapper. These crispy, savory bites are served with a side of consommé for dipping and garnished with fresh cilantro and lime.

Muffaletta Mozzarella Rolls – Lauren Katz, The Difference Baker, Ashburn, VA

A hand-held take on the New Orleans classic, these muffaletta rolls highlight savory mortadella and salami-wrapped RealCalifornia Mozzarella, creating a rich, cheesy center surrounded by a mix of finely chopped olives and giardiniera encased in buttery, flaky phyllo dough.

Mozzarella Frico Chips & Dip – Nick Kite, Wine Way Inn, Calistoga, CA

A cheesy version of chips and salsa made by stuffing Real California Dry Jack cheese fricos with a flavorful combination of Real California Mozzarella and fire-roasted poblano peppers. This snack is served with a smoky guajillo chili sauce and garnished with fresh cilantro, radishes, and lime.

Buffalo Mozzarella Wontons – Sierra Stevens, Sodexo at SVU, Buena Vista, VA

A delicious blend of shredded chicken breast, Real California Mozzarella, and hot sauce wrapped in crispy wonton wrappers and deep-fried to golden perfection, these wontons are complemented by a rich Cajun honey ranch dipping sauce.

Congratulations to all these food champions!

California Milk Advisory Board