Vidalia(R) Onion Committee Announces Winners of First-Ever 'Very Vidalia(R)' National Recipe Contest

    'Sweet Vidalia Sliders' Rank Top with Judges

    VIDALIA, Ga., Sept. 20 /CNW/ -- "Houston - we have a winner!"  On Sept.
12, Kelly McWherter of Houston, Tex., was selected as the grand prize winner
of the first-ever Very Vidalia National Recipe Contest.  The contest held by
the Vidalia Onion Committee was judged by a panel of chefs and other food
experts who selected her original recipe - "Sweet Vidalia Sliders"-as the
grand prize winner.
    McWherter wins a family vacation getaway to Orlando, Fla., and dinner
with celebrity chef, television personality and Vidalia Onion Committee Chef
Advisory Board member, Jon Ashton.  "My family loves 'Sweet Vidalia Sliders',"
says McWherter, who is expecting a baby girl in October. "I'm so excited that
the Vidalia Onion Committee likes them as much as we do."
    Pat Neaves of Lees Summit, Mo., wins a $500 second prize cash award for
her "Vidalia Caramel Upside Down Cake" recipe.  "Fried Vidalia Onion Potato
Salad with Marguez," submitted by Tony Sargent of St. Charles, Mo., wins a
$250 third prize cash award.
    "It is impressive seeing how many unique ways Vidalia onion lovers chose
to utilize our sweet onions," says Wendy Brannen, executive director, Vidalia
Onion Committee, "and, so many people think Vidalia onions are just a
"Southern" thing, but we received entries from consumers coast to coast." From
May 1 to August 17, cooks from both the United States and Canada put their
culinary skills to the test by entering the Vidalia Onion Committee's first
'Very Vidalia' national recipe contest.  Ten finalists' original recipes
featuring Vidalia onions were sampled and judged on Sept. 12 at the Art
Institute of Tampa's culinary department, which offers educational programs in
both culinary arts and management.  Students from the culinary department
prepared the final ten recipes.  A donation to the Art Institute of Tampa's
scholarship fund was made by the Vidalia Onion Committee to show their
appreciation to the students and staff.
    Contest judges included Brannen; Ashton; Allison Koplan, who recently
appeared on ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" for winning Emeril Legasse's "Best
Burger Ever" contest; John Williams, president, Sahlman Williams Public
Relations in Tampa; and culinary professionals from the Art Institute of
Tampa's culinary center.
    Vidalia onions, grown only in Georgia, are available to consumers from
late April through September offering tangible inspiration for contest
participants.  Chef Ashton promoted the contest to U.S. and Canadian consumers
through in-store appearances, point-of-sale materials and a satellite media
tour.  Ashton created three Vidalia onion recipes perfect for summertime
grilling gatherings, which are available on the Committee's Web site,
    The Vidalia Onion Committee was established in 1989 as Federal Marketing
Order No. 955. The order authorizes production research, marketing research
and development, and marketing promotion programs. The Vidalia Onion Committee
administers the order locally and consists of eight producer members and their
alternates and one public member and an alternate.

For further information:

For further information: Ashley Lansdale of Sahlman Williams, 
+1-813-251-4242 ext. 226, or Wendy Brannen of Vidalia Onion Committee, 
+1-912-537-1918 Web Site:

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