The National Restaurant Association has announced the winner of the NRA Show Hot Chef Grilling Challenge – Kristina Vanni. Vanni’s winning video submitted on YouTube™ featured her preparing maple-Dijon glazed grilled Arctic char with a cucumber, fennel and radish salad, grilled bread cheese with cloudberry preserves and a lingonberry-cardamom martini.
‘We were impressed by the culinary skill and creativity displayed by the NRA Show Hot Chef Grilling Challenge contestants, and are excited to have Kristina VÃ¤nni join us in Chicago to showcase her winning recipes,’ said Lorna Donatone, Convention Chair for NRA Show 2009 and President of School Services at Sodexo Inc.
Kristina Vanni’s award-winning original recipes have been published in cookbooks and magazines from Pillsbury to Better Homes and Gardens. She is currently a contributing writer and community host for the Better Homes and Gardens Web sites BetterRecipes.com and MixingBowl.com.
An award-winning cook since the age of 12, Kristina’s $2,000 win in the Pillsbury Bake-Off led to appearances on the nationally televised Pillsbury Bake-Off Special, CBS Sunday Morning and The Mike and Maty Show.
Later at the age of 20, Kristina was once again selected as a finalist in the Bake-Off. Her recipe was featured on the cover of Pillsbury’s Quick and Easy Bake-Off cookbook, and she served as an ambassador for the contest by preparing her recipe on The Early Show on CBS.
Most recently, Kristina was the $5,000 winner in Better Homes and Gardens ‘Your Best Recipe Contest’ and was featured on their PBS special as well as in the February issue of the magazine. Other recent culinary honors include, the Grand Prize in Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food contest, and the Grand Prize in the American Lamb ‘Get Your Grill On’ Contest.
The runner-up finalists in the NRA Show Hot Chef Grilling Challenge are Brad Barrett and Stesha Ries.
For the competition, professional chefs and home cooks were encouraged to submit a 2-minute video of themselves preparing their favorite grilling recipes using trendy ingredients.
Each video had to include one item from the Association’s What’s Hot in 2009 survey of American Culinary Federation member chefs. YouTube users voted for their favorite videos, and the winner was then selected from the top three by a panel of National Restaurant Association staff.