By Albany Tribune -- (August 19, 2011)
Oregonians Russell Kool of Hillsboro, OR and Timmy Baker of Eugene, OR were named Friday winners in the Oregon Regional Finals of the Second Annual Foster Farms Fresh Chicken Cooking Contest held at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland.
The two Finalists each won a $1,000 cash prize and will compete at the Finals in person on September 30, 2011, at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in California’s Napa Valley. A $10,000 grand prize and one-year supply of Foster Farms fresh chicken will be awarded to the contest’s grand prize winner.
Judges made decisions based on taste, use of fresh, local ingredients, appearance/appeal, simplicity/ease of making and originality. Guests in attendance selected contestant Megan Futrell’s Chicken and Mushroom Ragout recipe for the “People’s Choice Award” for best use of local ingredients.
Nearly 2,000 home, amateur and professional chefs residing in Oregon, Washington and California submitted their prized, original, fresh chicken recipes for consideration.
Russell Kool and Timmy Baker will join Washington winners Tina Hoban of Bellingham and Rebecca Spence of Vancouver, along with California’s to-be-determined winners, at the Finals.
As far as trend indicators, many of the recipes submitted this year called for whole chicken and boneless, skinless thighs; boneless, skinless breast recipes were featured in the majority of recipes. Contestants also often incorporated fruits, such as cherries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, figs and pineapples. Quinoa, couscous and panko were popular accompaniments and turmeric and Asian spices were prevalent in many recipes.
“After a successful event in Washington, we were again impressed by the regional talent in Oregon,” said Ira Brill, director of communications for Foster Farms. “Both Russell Kool and Timmy Baker exceeded our expectations for quality and creativity with their inspired use of ingredients central to Oregon cuisine. We wish all our winners the best of luck at the finals in just a few weeks.”