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Chef Rachael Perron of Woodbury, Minn.-based Kowalski's Markets was named Supermarket Chef Showdown Grand Champion at this year's FMI Connect show, being held June 10-13 in Chicago. Perron's winning dish was her Greek Grain Salad with Dilled Feta Dressing.
Perron, who also took home top prize in the Healthy Meals Category, was among FMI's slate of five category winners, which included:
- Family Meals Category Winner: Keoni Chang, Foodland Super Market, Korean-Style Hillshire Farm Dogs with Kimchi Slaw and Alexia Garlic Sweet Potato Fries
- Ethnic Meals Category Winner: Andrew Kintigh, Hy-Vee, Inc., Moroccan Style Chickpea and Kale Stew with Date Gremolata
- Side Dish/Mini Meals Category Winner: Erin Horton, Orchard Fresh, Mediterranean Chicken Meatballs
- Desserts Category Winner Michael Brady, FRESH by Brookshire's Grocery, Banana Beignets
Hosted by Phil Lempert, the competition featured 24 chefs competing across five categories in front of a live audience on the show's exhibit floor. Participants were required to create meals in less than 20 minutes featuring products from Supermarket Chef Showdown's sponsors. The 24 finalists were selected from a record 130 entries from 30 different retailers.
“While the competition is fun, the real joy of this event is the chance to spotlight the spice that supermarket chefs bring to food retail,” said FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin. “As we all know, food is the great connector – bringing people together – and that is true even within a cooking competition.”
FMI’s U.S. members operate nearly 40,000 retail food stores and 25,000 pharmacies, representing a combined annual sales volume of almost $770 billion.