Case Western Reserve University chef wins companywide plant-based meat recipe contest
Palo Alto, CA (April 2, 2019) — When Bon Appétit Management Company and Impossible Foods announced a recipe contest with a spectacular grand prize, the response was overwhelming. Dozens of participants from Bon Appétit’s university, corporate, and public cafés in 14 states eagerly threw their aprons into the ring. (See Bon Appétit Chefs Think Outside the Bun for Impossible Burger 2.0 Contest.)
The winner: Executive Chef Derek Ivancic of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, whose Impossible chorizo tamales showcased the “outside-the-bun” versatility of the new and improved formulation of Impossible Burger. Derek’s tamales impressed the entire judging panel, who deemed them “absolutely delicious.”
Asked why he chose to enter the contest, Derek explained: “I was excited for an opportunity to experiment and challenge myself. Since joining Bon Appétit, I have really expanded my vegan and vegetarian cooking repertoire. I have always been known for meat, whether it was sausage making, smoking, dry curing or butchery. This gave me an outlet outside of my comfort zone to try new things and continue to learn and grow as a cook.”
Anyone paying attention to the explosion of worldwide interest in plant-based meat is familiar with Impossible Foods, the Redwood City, CA-based innovator. Impossible Foods selected Bon Appétit Management Company as its first food-service partner back in 2017, thanks in part to the two companies’ shared commitment to both high-quality food and to a more sustainable future for the food system.
Since it began serving the Impossible Burger to its guests, in June 2017, Bon Appétit Management Company has since served more than 15 tons of it at over 100 of its corporate, university, and museum cafés nationwide. The nationwide recipe contest was designed to get Impossible 2.0, a new formulation that had just won accolades at the popular consumer electronics show CES, into the hands of Bon Appétit chefs before its official release.
The first round of the contest required participants to serve their dishes to their guests and let them know they were getting a sneak-peek taste of the not-yet-released formulation. They took any feedback they received and tweaked their recipes, then submitted them along with photos to Impossible for judging. Impossible selected four finalists, who then prepared their dish and served it at a special pop-up event for their guests, encouraging them to share their reaction on social media. Impossible and its R&D team cooked and taste-tested the four recipes, took a look at the social shares, and named the winner and one runner-up.
As the Grand Prize winner, Derek could choose between an all-expenses paid trip to New York or San Francisco, to include dinner with Chef Brad Farmerie or with Chef Traci Des Jardins, and a chance to learn all about Impossible. He opted for San Francisco. “I am elated to have an opportunity to visit California for the first time and expand my culinary experiences,” he said.
Mayet Cristobal, executive chef for Bon Appétit at Walt Disney Studios, was named the runner-up. She will receive a gift certificate for a custom knife from Bernal Cutlery in San Francisco.
About Bon Appétit Management Company
Bon Appétit Management Company is an on-site restaurant company operating 1,000-plus locations in 34 states for corporations, universities, and museums. Bon Appétit chefs cook from scratch, including sauces, stocks, and soups. The Palo Alto–based food service company is a recognized industry leader in environmentally and socially responsible practices, with awards from organizations including the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, Acterra, James Beard Foundation, and many others.
About Impossible Foods
Based in California’s Silicon Valley, Impossible Foods makes delicious, nutritious meat and dairy products directly from plants — with a much smaller environmental footprint than meat from animals. The privately held company was founded in 2011 by Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry at Stanford University and a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Investors include Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates, Google Ventures, Horizons Ventures, UBS, Viking Global Investors, Temasek, Sailing Capital, and Open Philanthropy Project.