Alexandria Boswell has won the first-ever Foster Farms West Coast Chicken Cooking Contest in a heated Final Cook Off held today at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in California's Napa Valley. Boswell and her Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts dish beat out more than 2,000 recipes to win the $10,000 grand prize and a one-year supply of Foster Farms fresh chicken.
In the spirit of the contest's focus on fresh, local ingredients, Boswell's Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts featured local California spinach and fresh Foster Farms chicken, grown locally in California. Boswell competed against five other finalists from California, Oregon and Washington.
The six finalists prepared and presented their dishes to an esteemed panel of food media judges including Lena Birnbaum from Bon Appetit, Sunset Magazine associate food editor Elaine Johnson; Michele Kayal, contributor to Associated Press; and Carolyn Jung of Food Gal, a James Beard Award-winning food journalist. Judges ultimately chose Alexandria Boswell's Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts dish as the West Coast Chicken Cooking Contest champion based upon its use of fresh, local ingredients including Foster Farms fresh, locally-grown chicken—as well as on taste, simplicity and presentation.
"Given that the West Coast is where many food trends begin, we expected to receive fantastic recipes with our inaugural West Coast Chicken Cooking Contest," said Ira Brill, director of communications for Foster Farms. "But the caliber of recipes submitted by the thousands of home, amateur and professional chefs was truly extraordinary and demonstrative of the West Coast's commitment to food and to cooking with — and eating — fresh, local ingredients. Congratulations to Alexandria Boswell, whose Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts recipe resulted in a great-tasting, creative dish that presented beautifully. Based on the success of this event, Foster Farms looks forward to hosting another competition next year."
"Amazing talent emerged during the Foster Farms West Coast Chicken Cooking Content, and my fellow judges and I were equally impressed with the creativity, use of local ingredients, and variety of chicken dishes created," said Lena Birnbaum, Associate Food Editor, Bon Appetit. "The energy in the kitchen was exciting today as the contestants prepared and we judges sampled the best of the best. While a difficult decision to render based on the impressive recipes tested all around, we ultimately selected Alexandria Boswell's Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts dish because of its use of ingredients, taste and presentation."
Alexandria Boswell's winning Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts recipe:
4 Foster Farms chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless
- 1 Tbls olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
- 1 bag (10 oz) spinach leaves
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
- 1/2 cup Feta cheese crumbles
- 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Preheat oven to 375° F.
In large skillet over medium-high heat, warm olive oil. Add onions to skillet and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add spinach to skillet, cover, reduce heat to medium and cook until spinach is wilted. Transfer onion and spinach to large bowl. Add dill, Feta cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, salt and pepper to bowl; mix well to combine.