After intense deliberation, the National Honey Board (NHB) named Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Hyde Park student, Perry Xu Cao, the Grand Prize winner of the inaugural "Sweet 16 Honey Recipe Challenge." Cao was awarded the $5,000 Grand Prize Scholarship for his Goat Cheese Tempura with Honey Dipping Sauces, following a morning of fierce but friendly competition at the Aug. 20 Sweet 16 Honey Recipe Challenge's "Final Four" cook-off event at CIA Greystone in St. Helena, Calif.
Cao's winning recipe was a simple yet elegant appetizer featuring three varietals of honey infused with aromatics to create mouthwatering sauces, providing a delicious balance to the crispy, citrus-laced and savory goat cheese tempura.
In addition to NHB's Catherine Barry, the hand-picked panel of judges for the Honey Recipe Challenge Final Four Cook-off included honey aficionados and professional chefs, Ray Martin, formerly with BJ's Restaurants and Cheesecake Factory, and j.W. Foster, Executive Chef at The Fairmont San Francisco, who regularly incorporates honey into his menu, thanks in part to the property's own roof-top beehives.
The four finalists, representing the top entries in each of the Honey Recipe Challenge's four categories (Appetizer, Sides/Salad, Entrée and Dessert), are as follows:
$5,000 Grand Prize Scholarship Winner: Goat Cheese Tempura with Honey Dipping Sauces (Appetizer) – Perry Xu Cao (CIA Hyde Park)
$1,000 Finalist Scholarship Winners: Honey-Seared Ahi Tuna with Citrus and Greens (Sides/Salad) – Jennifer Shea (CIA Greystone)
Ba Kwa Style Pork Burger with Honey-Lime Pickle, Sweet Thyme Aioli and Okinawan Sweet Potato Fries with Kecap Manis (Entrée) – Eric Hodet (CIA Hyde Park)
Honey and Blackberry Ice Cream Sandwich (Dessert) – Courtney Weyl (CIA Greystone)
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Sweet 16 Honey Recipe Challenge! This event was very successful and we cannot wait for next year's event.
For the winning recipe, Goat Cheese Tempura with Honey Dipping Sauces, click here.