Safeway is looking for the next great chef...fast

Categories: Contests

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Alexandra Guarnaschelli, judge for this Safeway contest.
Forget Top Chef. Safeway's Next Chef Competition is looking for local talent, and there's not a moment to waste, since the deadline is March 7.

So fire up your skillet (yes, that's an intrinsic part of the project) as you read the contest announcement:

Safeway Culinary Kitchens Announces "Search for Our Next Chef" Competition

Calling all aspiring chefs! Safeway today announced a first-of-its-kind competition in which chefs from across the nation will compete for a job with the Safeway Culinary Kitchens and have their recipe included in the Open NatureT Skillet Meal line sold in stores nationwide. The competition will culminate in a final cook-off at the Safeway Culinary Kitchens in Pleasanton, Calif., where chefs will cook their original, delicious and nutritious skillet meals. Executive Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli, who appears on Food Network's "Chopped" and "Iron Chef," will join an experienced judging panel of Safeway chefs and executives to select the winning chef who will join the culinary team.

"We know our busy shoppers want delicious, healthier and convenient meals," said Mike Minasi, president of marketing at Safeway. "Our state-of-the-art Culinary Kitchens features 4,000 square feet of food development work space, including a kitchen set-up reminiscent of what our shoppers have in their homes. It is here that we are able to develop innovative Safeway food products tailored to what our shoppers want -- great tasting food at affordable prices."

100% Natural for Everyone

Safeway set a high bar with the launch of its 100 percent natural Open Nature product line, which contains nothing artificial, is minimally processed and provides shoppers with extensive natural food choices in a variety of categories throughout the store. The judging team will be looking for a chef who demonstrates a passion for innovation and uses fresh and healthy ingredients when creating his or her recipe. The recipes must not only be made with 100% natural ingredients and full of flavor, but must also be designed with the at-home cook in mind.

"We are the first to host a major competition where a talented chef has the opportunity to win a new job and develop a product that will be on the shelf in a major national grocery store," said Joe Ennen, senior vice president of consumer brands at Safeway. "We are excited to find a well-rounded food expert who has a passion for innovation and is able to execute the highest level of recipe and product development to join our team."

Safeway will be hosting the regional cook-offs at the following three campuses: California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Seattle and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago on April 23rd, 25th, and 27th respectively. Safeway is encouraging top-notch chefs everywhere, from culinary schools to restaurants, to participate in this competition.

Let the Competition Begin

Unlike other job submission processes, this opportunity begins on Facebook where candidates and fans alike can follow the entire process, including the call for submissions; a national "People's Choice" vote, running April 9-20; regional cook-offs during the end of April; and the final cook-off at the Safeway Culinary Kitchens on May 15. The winner will be awarded a full-time position at the Safeway Culinary Kitchens think tank, which is committed to developing best-in-class store brand foods that help shoppers find inspiration for affordable meals. And, their winning recipe will be sold as an Open Nature Skillet Meal in stores across the country. Finalists will receive prizes for their hard work and participation, with third place winning $1,000 and second place winning $2,000.

Be sure to check the Safeway Facebook page regularly for competition updates and information on the local events.

But if you'd rather watch the video for a condensed version, see it below:



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