"Next Food Network Star" Finalist Wins Place on Red Lobster Menu

"Next Food Network Star" Finalist Wins Place on Red Lobster Menu

Food & Drink

"Next Food Network Star" Finalist Wins Place on Red Lobster Menu


Kelsey Nixon with Red Lobster Executive Chef Michael LaDuke

Wouldn’t it be fun to go with friends to a famous franchise restaurant like Red Lobster, point to an item on the menu and brag, “Yep. That’s my recipe.” Kelsey Nixon has earned those bragging rights.

In a recent episode of The Next Food Network Star, Nixon was one of the contestants competing in a fresh fish recipe challenge. The winning dish would get to be featured on Red Lobster’s ‘Today’s Fresh Fish’ menu in more than 680 of its restaurants across North America. Kelsey Nixon’s recipe for Macadamia Crusted Tilapia with White Chocolate Beurre Blanc came out on top.

The episode featured Iron Chef Michael Symon and Red Lobster Senior Executive Chef Michael LaDuke challenging the finalists to create unique, approachable dishes using one of Red Lobster’s fresh fish species.

The finalists were told they also had to use an unusual Iron Chef-inspired ingredient, such as grape jelly, white chocolate, coffee or Fruit Loops. Kelsey’s Macadamia Crusted Tilapia with White Chocolate Beurre Blanc blended a buttery beurre blanc and smooth white chocolate with the crunch and nuttiness of macadamia nuts and coconut.

Chef LaDuke served as a guest judge and helped select Nixon, from North Ogden, Utah, as the Episode 4 Fresh Fish Challenge winner.

‘Kelsey’s recipe is an innovative, flavorful take on simple fresh fish – the unique ingredient combination of macadamia nuts, coconut and white chocolate is an excellent complement to increasingly popular tilapia,’ said Chef LaDuke. ‘We are thrilled to have her winning dish on the ‘Today’s Fresh Fish’ menu.’

Although Nixon was eventually voted off the show, her recipe lives on at Red Lobster and it has received outstanding reviews from food editors and bloggers, according to Red Lobster officials. Nixon also worked with Red Lobster’s culinary team to a develop a consumer version of her Tilapia recipe that people can make at home.

Today’s Fresh Fish at Red Lobster

Launched nationwide last year, Red Lobster’s ‘Today’s Fresh Fish’ menu offers guests a selection of five to eight fresh fish species each day. Guests can choose to have their fresh fish grilled and lightly seasoned, broiled and lightly seasoned, blackened with Cajun spices or grilled with a new sweet and spicy glaze. Red Lobster’s ‘Today’s Fresh Fish’ menu also offers innovative chef’s creations that each restaurant prepares using locally popular species, from grouper to Arctic char. In addition to favorites such as salmon, trout and tilapia, other regional choices include wall-eyed pike in the Midwest and Pacific red rockfish on the West Coast. Each day, Red Lobster restaurants print their own ‘Today’s Fresh Fish’ sheet listing the day’s unique offerings.

To watch a behind-the-scenes video from ‘The Next Food Network Star’ Episode 4 and read more about Chef LaDuke’s experience as a guest judge, visit www.redlobster.com. You’ll also find posted there a video demonstration of Nixon’s winning Tilapia recipe.


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