Upscale Veggie "Burger" Wins Indian Harvest Recipe Contest

Upscale Veggie “Burger” Wins Indian Harvest Recipe Contest


Compass Group North America chefs capitalize on Indian Harvest’s Sunrise Blend to create winning dishes as flavorful and novel as they are healthy and sustainable.



BEMIDJI, MINN., June 24, 2008–Indian Harvest® Specialtifoods, Inc., the country’s premier provider of premium whole-grain, rice, bean and legume products and innovative blends to foodservice, announces the winning concepts in the inaugural Sunrise Blend Recipe Contest for chefs of Compass Group North America.


The contest garnered 129 entries representing all Compass Group North America members, including Eurest Dining Services, Bon Appétit Management Company and Morrison Management Services. Entrants submitted recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetizers and snacks serving six and featuring Sunrise Blend with Quinoa Flakes as a main ingredient.


Sunrise Blend with Quinoa Flakes is a high-protein, 100% whole-grain blend created to reinvigorate traditional American breakfast fare, with applications for all dayparts. The combination of ancient Kamut® Bulgur Wheat with Peruvian quinoa flakes, flax seed, buckwheat groats and Indian Harvest’s own puffed Colusari® Red Rice from California’s Sacramento Valley allows chefs to capitalize on the blend’s variety of flavors, textures and nutrition by serving as prepared or using as a platform for recipe inspiration.


Evaluated on innovation of application, appeal and nutritional value, contest entries were also judged on their promotion of sustainability through, for example, locally sourced ingredients, low-energy prep and minimum waste in prep. Cooking and judging of 15 finalists’ recipes commenced at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., in June, resulting in a slate of marketable menu ideas that will be photographed and published in a compilation to be distributed to foodservice professionals nationwide.


“The contest helped us raise awareness of a National Nutrition month promotion, ‘Whole Grains 3.0’, which we developed as part of Balanced Choices, our proprietary nutrition and wellness program,” said Deanne Brandstetter, vice president nutrition & wellness, Compass Group North America.


The winning concept was Sunrise Blend Veggie Burger with Goat Cheese “Bun,” created by Ray Noonan, executive chef with Eurest Dining Services in St. Louis. Noonan’s inspiration for the dish was the classic cheeseburger—sporting lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, ketchup and mustard—with several twists.


“I used the Sunrise Blend with Quinoa Flakes to create a healthy vegetarian burger that meets Midwesterners’ demand for comfort food, but in a guilt-free way,” he says. For his entry, Noonan formed burger patties from a seasoned mixture of prepared Sunrise Blend with Quinoa Flakes and sautéed diced mushrooms, bell pepper and onion, bound with egg and panko bread crumbs. Once chilled, the patties were pan-fried in canola oil, then plated on a bed of fresh organic spinach and topped with cheese and “bun,” both represented by a creamy disk of pan-fried Montrachet goat cheese coated in panko. Drizzles of chipotle ketchup and horseradish Dijon, along with a garnish of julienned cucumber (the “pickle”) and tomato concassé, completed the upscale presentation.


Chef Gary Suarez with Bon Appétit Management Company in St. Louis took second place for his Sunrise Blend with Quinoa Flakes, Artichoke, Spinach and Feta Cake atop Roasted Vegetables. Third-place honors went to Jacob Harr, executive chef with Eurest Dining Services in Bentonville, Ark., for his California Falafel.


Summarizing the caliber of contest entries, Michael Holleman, Indian Harvest’s corporate chef, said, “Tying sustainability, innovation and business impact together in one recipe is no easy task. The chefs at Compass Group did just that, with depth and variety that address both the increasingly discerning demands of diners and the desire of operators to exceed the expectations of their customers.”


“I was impressed by the way contestants embraced sustainability by specifying local, seasonal ingredients for their recipes,” said Chris Ivens-Brown, vice president of culinary development and corporate executive chef of Compass Group North America. “Chefs are at the forefront of changing people’s eating habits, and when they are educated about where and how their foods are produced and the environmental impact of shipping long distances, they can educate their customer base about the importance of maintaining a sustainable food supply.”


For his first-place win, Noonan and a guest receive a tour of Indian Harvest’s processing facilities in Colusa, Calif., followed by travel to Napa Valley to tour and dine at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone and the world-renowned French Laundry.


About Compass Group North America

Charlotte, N.C.-based Compass Group North America is the leading food-management company, with more than $8.8 billion in revenues. Its parent company, UK-based Compass Group PLC, was ranked the 13th-largest employer by Fortune magazine in 2007. It has worldwide revenues of $20.2 billion.


About Indian Harvest Specialtifoods, Inc.

Indian Harvest Specialtifoods, Inc., headquartered in northern Minnesota, is a foremost U.S. producer and procurer of some of the world’s most distinctive varieties of grains, beans and legumes for foodservice. The company’s dedication to discovering and promoting lesser-known, heirloom grains and seeds is deep-rooted in its 30-year heritage of providing chef-driven menu inspiration and solutions to an evolving restaurant industry while embracing a mission of ecological sustainability. For more information, visit


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