The annual Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) Supermarket Chef Showdown is now accepting applicants. Supermarket Chefs can enter their recipes at in up to five categories including: Healthy Meals, Family Meals, Ethnic Meals, Dessert and Side-Dishes/Mini Meals/Snacks. All recipes must use at least three eligible ingredients and take 20 minutes or less to prepare (not including baking or cooling time).
There’s no cost to enter and the deadline for entries is November 15, 2013. The top-25 finalists will compete live in front of celebrity judges in a special kitchen stadium created on the convention floor at FMI Connect on June 11, 2014 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

“Through the friendly competition of last year’s first-ever Supermarket Chef Showdown, FMI cast a deserving spotlight on the culinary expertise found in neighborhood supermarkets across America, as Supermarket Chefs share their menu creativity, flavor findings and kitchen skills with grocery shoppers every day,” Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI president and CEO, remarked. “The 2014 edition of the showdown at FMI Connect in Chicago promises to enlarge that spotlight with expanded categories and recipe challenges; allowing even more chefs to let their tastes, talents and techniques shine on our industry-wide stage.”

Phil Lempert, a food trends and consumer expert and the Showdown Executive Producer and Master of Ceremony, said, “Supermarket Chefs feed millions of Americans daily, but receive little recognition. This Showdown gives them the opportunity to further explore their culinary talents.”

Prizes this year include an all-expense paid trip for two to Mardi Gras 2015, an all-expense paid trip to California to participate in the olive harvest, a “Chicago experience,” cash prizes, food-centric prizes, bragging rights and more.  The top-25 finalists will also receive culinary gifts from Showdown sponsors shipped directly to their homes.

Official contest rules, including lists of all eligible ingredients are available online at All recipe submissions for each stage of judging in all five categories will be judged based on aroma; taste; chewability; consumer appeal; seasoning; creativity, food combinations (color, texture, shape, taste); garnishing techniques; how items are cut; adherence to recipe ingredients; packaging at retail; difficulty; and technique; and uniformity in cooking. The judges will reveal winners in each category and a Grand Prize winner based on an overall score.

In addition to the Supermarket Chef Showdown, entrants can join the Supermarket Chef Culinary Community that will provide webinars, special events, custom developed tips and tools to help Supermarket Chefs stay in front of the latest foodservice trends. A Chef’s Chat Discussion forum will connect members and facilitate networking. Membership is free and also will include a quarterly newsletter.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.