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Orlando named national finalist, will take eggplant balls to Vegas




Ric Orlando, the chef, author, food activist and media personality behind New World Home Cooking in Saugerties and New World Bistro Bar in Albany, tells me he has been named the Northeast finalist in US Foods’ Next Top Product competition for his signature Eggplant Balls, a vegetarian adaptation of Neapolitan meatballs. The official list is not yet available from US Foods, but Orlando says he received a call today about winning the regional voting, conducted on Facebook and Twitter from late August through Friday.

Orlando and seven other regional finalists will be flown to Las Vegas in early November to compete at the World Food Championships.  The winner will receive $5,000 cash and $15,000 credit to be used toward kitchen equipment and supplies from US Foods.

“We’re hoping our modest and peasanty eggplant balls can win the whole thing,” Orlando tells me. The competition was not to create the most elaborate or gourmet item but something that a food-service giant like the contest sponsor could sell nationwide. Orlando says, “We’re hoping to see my balls in cafeterias and commissaries across the country in a few months.”

The Eggplant Balls are on the menus at New World Bistro Bar (300 Delaware Ave., Albany) and New World Home Cooking (1411 Rte 212, Saugerties). Also, Bill Dowd has the recipe. 

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