There's Still Time! Enter FMI's Supermarket Chef Showdown

There's Still Time! Enter FMI's Supermarket Chef Showdown

November 6, 2013

Allison Beadle, MS, RD, LD

Editor, RDBA Weekly

Today’s consumers are more health and flavor savvy than ever before, and this is a great thing.  Food that is good for you should be enjoyable to eat—the two go hand in hand.  This premise is an excellent reason for retail chefs and dietitians to collaborate, and the Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) 2014 Supermarket Chef Showdown could be a great reason to get that collaboration started. 

Phil Lempert, a food trends and consumer expert and the Showdown Executive Producer and Master of Ceremony, said, “One of the best ways to expand your sphere of influence is to develop collaborative relationships. Retail chefs and dietitians have complementary areas of expertise. So, why not use this Showdown as an opportunity to work together to develop an innovative recipe?”

Tips for Retail Chef and RD Collaboration:

  • Have regular culinary-nutrition meetings to discuss customer feedback, issues, trends etc.
  • Work together on new product development.
  • Involve the RD with tasting panels.
  • Involve the Chef with community education events.
  • Develop a task force to address menu labeling, from the technicalities of nutrition analysis to effective customer communication.
  • Hold a nutrition 101 lunch and learn for food service staff and a culinary 101 for nutrition staff.

The annual Showdown competition includes five categories: Healthy Meals, Family Meals, Ethnic Meals, Dessert and Side-Dishes/Mini Meals/Snacks. All recipes must use at least three eligible ingredients and take 20 minutes or less to prepare (not including baking or cooling time).  Official rules, including lists of all eligible ingredients are available online at  There’s no cost to enter and the deadline for entries is November 15, 2013. The top-25 finalists will compete live in front of celebrity judges in a special kitchen stadium created on the convention floor at FMI Connect on June 11, 2014 at McCormick Place in Chicago. 

“Through the friendly competition of last year’s first-ever Supermarket Chef Showdown, FMI cast a deserving spotlight on the culinary expertise found in neighborhood supermarkets across America, as Supermarket Chefs share their menu creativity, flavor findings and kitchen skills with grocery shoppers every day,” Leslie G. Sarasin, FMI president and CEO, remarked.  “The 2014 edition of the showdown at FMI Connect in Chicago promises to enlarge that spotlight with expanded categories and recipe challenges; allowing even more chefs to let their tastes, talents and techniques shine on our industry-wide stage.

According to Lempert, supermarket Chefs feed millions of Americans daily, and this Showdown gives them the opportunity to further explore their culinary talents. “I’d be thrilled to see more retail chefs and RDs working together to bring delicious good-for-you menu items into retail foodservice.  This Showdown could be an excellent starting place.”