Did somebody say Mozzarella? A little birdie told us that this foodservice favorite is entering the spotlight thanks to the California Milk Advisory Board’s (CMAB) latest event. The organization is launching the 2024 Great Mozzarella Showdown, an inaugural foodservice recipe contest challenging chefs and culinary students to develop creative, non-pizza dishes using California’s number-one cheese product.
“This recipe contest is part of our continued efforts to partner with chefs and next generation culinary professionals to showcase the versatility and performance of California Mozzarella as a key foodservice ingredient,” said Mike Gallagher, Business and Market Development Consultant for CMAB. “While we’ve done a lot to focus on the use of California Mozzarella in the pizza and entrée space, as the reigning cheese in our foodservice portfolio, the Great Mozzarella Showdown will serve to inspire awareness of the endless opportunities for use in appetizers, handhelds, flatbreads, salads, and more.”
The online recipe contest aims to build on the ongoing popularity of Mozzarella at foodservice and how it can be used in endless menu innovations. According to a press release, the goal is to showcase ideas using two styles of this versatile cheese in a variety of dishes for different dayparts, including appetizers and handheld items.
The Great Mozzarella Showdown is open to professional chefs and culinary students in the United States and offers the opportunity to submit creative recipes in two categories: California Mozzarella and California Fresh Mozzarella.
Influential foodservice judges will select eight winning recipes from the online submissions based on criteria including innovation, use of cheese as a primary ingredient, and flavor expectations. Each chef finalist will receive $2,000, with the two winning dishes receiving an additional $2,000 for a total of $4,000 to each category champion.
The entry period for submitting recipes is January 8–February 16. The eight winning recipes/chefs will be announced on February 29, 2024, with the two grand champions named in mid-April.
Best of luck to all who enter!