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IGA Names Finalists of 205 National Hometown Holidays Recipe Challenge

CHICAGO -- IGA announced yesterday the finalists of its 2005 National Hometown Holidays Recipe Challenge. A panel of culinary chefs from the Illinois Institute of Art -- Chicago's Culinary Arts program selected the seven finalists' recipes out of the more then 300 original recipes that were submitted to IGA stores across the country during IGA's annual Hometown Holidays marketing event held Oct. 31 through Nov. 13, 2004.

Recipe entries were required to include at least two products from Hometown Holidays promotional sponsors. Sponsors included Anheuser-Busch, Inc., The Coca-Cola Co., Campbell Soup Com., Kraft Foods North America, Minute Maid Juices, Morton Salt, Nestle USA and The J.M. Smucker Co.

The seven IGA Finalists are as follows:

James L. EasterLing
Jimmy's Flaming Filet Mignons

--ROCKPORT IGA, Rockport, Mass.
Lesley Pew
German Style Chocolate Cheesecake

--SPD, IGA, Nevada City, Calif.
Hank Schriefer
Chicken Breast With Balsamic Shallot Sauce

--BUCK'S IGA, Indianapolis, Ind.
Kelly Boe
Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole

--BLACK CREEK IGA, Black Creek, Wis.
Marilyn Blankschien
Caramel Pecan Apple Tassies

Shirley DeSanti
Tropical Fruit 'N Nut Bread

--EL RANCHO MARKET IGA, Chandler, Ariz.
Victoria Johnson
Cream of Potato, Amber Bock, and Parsley Soup with Pan-Seared Scallops

Each of the seven finalists and a guest will travel to Chicago April 15 for a three-day/two-night prize package stay at the Chicago Hilton Downtown. On April 16 each of the seven finalists' recipes will be prepared and evaluated by a panel of culinary masters from The Illinois Institute of Art -- Chicago's Culinary Arts program. The recipes will be judged on three criteria: taste, creativity, and ability to reproduce the desired dish based on recipe directions.

The Grand Prize winner will receive a five-day/four-night cruise for two to the Western Caribbean, including round-trip airfare (prize package valued at approximately $5,000).

"We are incredibly pleased with the results of the Hometown Holidays marketing event," said IGA marketing events coordinator Zorona Chapman in a statement. "With each year the Recipe Challenge has gained momentum, leading to increased consumer participation and higher profit margins for our retailers."

Bert Lindstrom, assistant director of culinary arts for the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago, noted, "Now in its fourth year, this recipe contest has become well known and respected in culinary circles across America. I'm proud to say that this year's recipes are of the highest caliber -- in fact, they're the best we've seen in the history of Hometown Holidays."

IGA is the world's largest voluntary supermarket network, with aggregate worldwide retail sales of more than $21 billion per year. The alliance includes more than 4,000 Hometown Proud Supermarkets worldwide, supported by 36 distribution companies and more than 55 major manufacturers, vendors, and suppliers encompassing everything from grocery to equipment items.
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