Black Pepper Bacon Jam from TBJ Gourmet won over the hearts and taste buds of the panel of culinary judges at the Fancy Food Show's Front Burner Foodservice Pitch Competition Monday evening.
The versatile, spreadable product wowed the judges with its strong bacon flavor and foodservice-friendly packaging, taking top prize in the competition, which was presented by the Foodservice Council of the Specialty Food Association at the Summer Fancy Food Show.
“We make sweet, spreadable bacon,” said Michael Oraschewsky, managing partner at TBJ, when making his presentation.
The product features nitrate-free pork raised without antibiotics, producing a jam that is gluten-free, low-sodium, and low-fat, distributed in a 67-ounce pouch for foodservice customers.
The product beat out a cabbage-based relish called Slawsa from The Busha Group/Nicole Foods, and Tomato and White Sultana Chutney with Ginger and Garam Masala from Le Bon Magot. Black Pepper Bacon Jam also won as Fan Favorite in an on-site text poll conducted at the competition, in which representatives from the three companies were each given five minutes to pitch their products to foodservice professionals.
The judges also tasted each product, and after hearing the pitches, assigned scores for innovation, quality, and chef-appeal for foodservice.
As the winner, TBJ will receive a promotional prize package from the Specialty Food Association, including an ad in Specialty Food Magazine, editorial coverage in Specialty Food News, and more.
The judging panel included:
Maria Loi, chef and owner of Loi Esiatorio in New York, and a gourmet restaurant in Nafpaktos, Greece. She is a popular television chef in Greece, and the Chef’s Club of Greece has recognized her as an official Ambassador of Greek Gastronomy.
Henry Wainer, president and owner of Sid Wainer & Son, a supplier of specialty produce and specialty foods to the foodservice and hospitality industries. Wainer has been recognized for his commitment to promoting food safety and has received an honorary doctorate from Johnson & Wales University.
Tom Macrina, president of the American Culinary Federation since 2013. He is a Certified Executive Chef, Certified Culinary Administrator, and a member of the American Academy of Chefs, the honor society of the American Culinary Federation.
Laura Granston, research and development manager at Kings Supermarkets and Balducci's Food Lovers Market.
The first-ever Front Burner Foodservice Pitch Competition took place in January at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. The winning product was Hummustir, a take on deconstructed hummus, providing consumers with cooked chickpea puree, toasted tahini, and simple spices in a 12-ounce container, or in 3- to 5-pound sizes for foodservice.