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2019 RITZ Contest Winners Show Creativity and Originality

Culinary professional and student win grand prizes this year.

Sponsored by Mondelēz InternationalA new twist on an updated classic and a simpler version of an elegant dessert were this year’s Grand Prize winning recipes of the 2019 RITZ Crushed Crackers Recipe Contest. 

Kim Dalton, the chef-owner of Texican, a Tex-Mex restaurant in Chicago, is the Grand Prize Winner of the 2019 RITZ Crushed Crackers Recipe contest in the Culinary Professional category. Her winning recipe, Pork-U-Pie, a savory and sweet pork and Cheddar mock apple pie with a crisp and buttery RITZ crumb topping, was inspired by a vintage recipe printed on the back of the RITZ crackers box.

“It’s really good,” she says of the mock apple pie recipe, which contains RITZ crackers instead of apples, a substitution that hearkens back to the Great Depression. “It’s kind of a classic.”

The rich, buttery flavors of RITZ crackers inspired Dalton to include crushed RITZ crackers in the filling and the crumble topping, and cream of tartar, cinnamon, and allspice to suggest apple pie flavors. Pork-U-Pie also contains lean pork, a favorite at her breakfast and lunch restaurant, and Cheddar cheese, which hints at another nostalgic dessert — apple pie with Cheddar.

New this year is the Culinary Student category, and Fernando Diala is the 2019 Grand Prize Winner with his mille-feuille. In place of puff pastry, his recipe calls for RITZ crackers to serve as the pastry layers. Diala, who is a student at the Institute of Culinary Education in Pasadena, Calif., got the idea from a baking and pastry class on mille-feuille.

“The professor said the pastry itself is a biscuit, so I had an idea,” Diala says. It took him a full evening and several attempts to perfect the recipe, which includes raspberry jam, vanilla pastry cream, and RITZ crackers, topped with melted semi-sweet and white chocolate. Diala, who left his accounting job in his native Manila, Philippines, to enroll in the Baking and Pastry Program, hopes someday to open his own restaurant.

The recipes were judged on creativity, methodology, and use of RITZ Crushed Crackers as an ingredient. The contest was sponsored by Nation’s Restaurant News, Food Management, Restaurant Hospitality and Mondelēz International Foodservice.

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