Emily Hobbs has a dream. The 24-year-old Southwest Missouri waitress is saving up her wages and tips, hoping someday soon to attend the French Culinary Institute in New York. It’s a dream that was sparked by Emily’s trip to France when she was a high school senior.
Now she’s $5,000 closer to reaching that goal after winning the Regal Springs Tilapia recipe contest.
It wasn’t the first recipe competition she’s entered. Emily says she’s entered hundreds of them. And she’s enjoyed some success, winning a few hundred dollars along the way. In January, she squared off against three other finalists on the Food Network’s Ultimate Recipe Showdown. She came THIS closeâ€”losing out by a single point. She won a trip to New York in 2006, to compete in a beer cook off. Unfortunately, her caramelized onion and eggplant crostini wasn’t chosen as the big winner.
But her Tilapia Tostadas took the top prize in the â€˜Fishing for Frugal Recipesâ€™ sponsored by Regal Springs. â€˜When I got the call that I had won, I was in shock,â€™ Emily said. â€˜I’m so grateful.â€™
A panel of Chicago restaurant chefs judged the contest, determining the winner based on creativity, ingredients, and thoroughness of instructions. Judges were Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno, Roger Herring of Socca, Chris Macchia of Coco Pazzo, and Dirk Flanigan of The Gage.
Mike Picchietti, president of Regal Springs Tilapia, said: â€˜We were amazed at the response we received from coast to coast. We look forward to sharing these healthy recipes on our website so that more families can enjoy incorporating tilapia into their weekly menu plan.â€™