Greenhouse Grille, a local restaurant focused on creating “conscious cuisine,” won the US Foods Next Top Product Contest, beating more than 1,000 competitors from across the country.
The black bean slider, a variation of the restaurant’s black bean burger, was the dish that competed in the competition and later won the title as Next Top Product.
Many items from Greenhouse Grille were submitted, but the black bean burger was the only item that made it to the top 55 recipies, co-owner Jerrmy Gawthrop said.
“The overall versatility of the product was a huge bonus to the judges,” Gawthrop said. “Not to mention vegan or vegetarian burgers or cakes don't always taste that good because they are often dry and crumbly. Ours is moist, delicious and versatile.”
The Next Top Product Contest, open to more than 250,000 foodservice professionals across the country, aimed to find the best new product for chefs by inviting US Foods customers to submit their favorite bakery, hot appetizer, sauce or dips and spread recipes.
Competitors participated in three rounds of competition, including a social media round seeking online votes from the supporters of the 54 semifinalists. The chefs whose recipes received the most votes in each of the eight regions moved on to the final head-to-head cook-off at the World Food Championships, a four-day, high-stakes culinary competition, according to a US Foods news release.
Greenhouse Grille co-owners Clayton Suttle and Gawthrop entered the contest during the summer and gained a spot in the top 55 finalists to compete in an online vote that ended in September, and by August, Greenhouse Grille won the central division to qualify for the final eight cook-off at the World Food Championship competition in Las Vegas Nov. 8
Judges scored the winning dish based on set criteria. In addition to taste, US Foods was also looking for an appealing product.
“World Food Championship judging is based on the E.A.T. method,” Gawthrop said. “E is for efficiency of the recipe, how you perform, and how the recipe works. A is for appearance of the finished product. T is for taste.”
Gawthrop and Suttle were awarded $15,000 to remodel the restaurant’s kitchen and a $5,000 cash prize.
Greenhouse Grille’s black bean sliders will join the US Foods product line up for distribution to chefs everywhere in 2014, according to a news release.
“My hope is that from this award and attention Greenhouse Grille has received, more people will hear about the restaurant and want to try it,” said Brittany Cusanek, a Greenhouse Grille employee.
US Foods is the 10th largest privately held company in America. The company offers more than 350,000 products and now the black bean slider will be one of them.
“It was a great experience all around,” Gawthrop said. “We owe the victory not only to the recipe, but also to all of our employees, customers, family and friends that helped us get through the voting phase of the competition – not to mention the massive support of our vision over the years. We live in a truly great community.”