The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), Tracy, Calif., announced the launch of an inaugural foodservice competition challenging professional chefs to create innovative “to-go” dishes using California dairy products. The “CADairy2Go” competition is inspired by chefs and foodservice operators who made quick, creative pivots to adjust their menus for the takeout and delivery model during the disruption caused by the pandemic.

The CMAB Foodservice team hand selected 12 culinary professionals to participate in the first-of-its-kind event, representing a variety of foodservice backgrounds, including experience in major restaurant chains, broadline distributors, independent restaurants, ghost kitchens and food trucks. Each chef will submit one dish in either the Cal-Mex or Cheese+Mac category, as well as a second dish under “Innovate-To-Go,” which allows for creativity beyond their assigned category, CMAB said. All dishes must be optimized for the takeout or “to-go” experience and incorporate sustainability sourced California cheese and other dairy ingredients. 

CMAB said the 2021 CADairy2Go participants are:

  • Carrie Baird, Rose’s Classic Americana, Boulder, Colo.
  • Victoria Elizondo, Cocina Local, Houston.
  • Gina Galvan, Mood for Food, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.
  • Gina Genschlea, Revolution Winery & Kitchen, Sacramento, Calif.
  • Nelson German, alaMar Kitchen & Bar, Sobre Mesa, Oakland, Calif.
  • Heidi Gibson, The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, San Francisco.
  • Marti Lieberman, Mac Mart, Philadelphia.
  • Brian Mullins, Ms. Cheezious, Miami.
  • Tamra Scroggins, Grill Concepts, Los Angeles.
  • Alex Sadowsky, Twin Peaks, Dallas.
  • Manish Tyagi, August 1 Five, San Francisco.
  • Mary Grace Viado, Village Tavern, Birmingham, Ala.

Participating chefs will win cash prizes ranging from $500 to $5,000. Two finalists from each category will earn a trip to Napa, where they will compete in a live cook-off event July 28 at the Culinary Institute of America’s Copia location. The final cook-off will be captured in a live broadcast that will be streamed in celebration of the chefs and their creations, CMAB said. Additional details about the competition and the chef competitors is available at CADairy2Go.

“The past year has challenged chefs to be strategic in creating dishes that are not only comforting, but can also hold up for an off-premise dining experience,” said Nancy Campbell, business development consultant for CMAB Foodservice. “This competition leverages the off-premise dining trends that emerged during this time and celebrates chefs who worked to respond quickly to consumer needs. Dairy is an essential ingredient for bringing to-go menu innovations to life and provides the flavor and flexibility to any style of cooking — from plant-forward to comfort and everything in between.”