Think You Can Cook? The National Restaurant Association Launches Hot Chef Challenge 2010

Chicago) Are you a professional chef? Amateur home cook? Culinary school grad? A mom who makes a mean casserole? Culinary professionals and enthusiasts alike now have the opportunity to show off their cooking skills for the opportunity to experience culinary stardom in the third annual NRA Show Hot Chef Challenge 2010. The National Restaurant Association launched the contest on YouTube™ today with the help of reigning champion Kristina Vanni, who invites professional chefs and home cooks to submit a video of themselves preparing their favorite recipe using fresh produce – the more unique, the better!

The winner of NRA Show Hot Chef Challenge 2010 will have the once-in-a lifetime opportunity to travel on American Airlines to Chicago to showcase his or her creations, and cook alongside celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson at the 2010 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show’s World Culinary Showcase on May 22. The winner will additionally receive accommodations for three days and two nights at the Affinia Hotel Chicago, and a special dinner with wine pairings at Chef Samuelsson’s acclaimed Chicago restaurant C-House. The winning recipe will also be featured in American Airlines American Way magazine. NRA Show 2010 will be held May 22-25 at Chicago’s McCormick Place and is the world’s largest restaurant and foodservice industry event.

“Fresh produce is versatile, healthy and delicious, which makes it perfect as the theme ingredient for our NRA Show Hot Chef Challenge,” said Ira Cohn, Convention Chair for NRA Show 2010 and President of ARAMARK Business and Industry Group. “We are calling all current and future culinary stars to enter the contest to show off innovative dishes with their favorite fruit or vegetable. The lucky winner will not only get to collaborate with Chef Samuelsson, but will do so at the largest restaurant industry event in the world – NRA Show 2010.”

Interested chefs and cooks should submit an original video demonstrating their recipe at Restaurant.org/show by Thursday, April 29, 2010. Videos should be no longer than two minutes and recipes must include at least one fresh produce item, plus any other ingredients of their choice. Competitors should refer to the Association’s What’s Hot in 2010 chef survey for ideas, ranging from superfruits to black garlic, ancient grains to heirloom tomatoes.

YouTube users will rate the video submission to select the top three, from which one will be chosen as the winner by Samuelsson, last year’s Hot Chef Challenge winner Kristina Vanni, a panel of food critics and foodservice industry professionals. Viewers may rate the contestants’ videos from one through five stars.

Last year’s NRA Show Hot Chef Challenge winner Kristina Vanni of North Hollywood, Calif., cooked among celebrity chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Rick Bayless at NRA Show 2009 and made incredible industry connections. This recognition helped lead her to being crowned the National Pork Board’s “Next Pork Personality” at the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival in October 2009. She currently serves as a contributor to Better Homes & Gardens’ Web site, BetterRecipes.com.

No purchase is necessary. Limit one video submission per person. Contest open only to legal residents of the 50 United States, 21 years of age or older. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. See Official Contest Rules on the NRA Show Web site.

The annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest single gathering of restaurant, foodservice and lodging professionals. NRA Show 2010 will be held May 22-25 at McCormick Place in Chicago. The event attracts tens of thousands of attendees and visitors from all 50 states and 100+ countries, and showcases more products, services, innovative ideas and other growth opportunities than any other industry event. For more information, visit the Show Web site at www.restaurant.org/show.

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 945,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of nearly 13 million employees. Together with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Association works to lead America’s restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence, and participation, enhancing the quality of life for all we serve. For more information, visit our Web site at www.restaurant.org.