Spicy But Balanced Chicken Dish Wins $100,000 in National Chicken Cooking Contest

A dish of broiled chicken on skewers praised by the judges for a complex but satisfying balance of flavors won first place and $100,000 for an Indiana University sociology professor in the cook-off of the 46th National Chicken Cooking Contest here May 13.

Camilla V. Saulsbury, Ph.D., of Bloomington, Indiana, prepared “Mahogany Broiled Chicken with Smoky Lime Sweet Potatoes and Cilantro Chimichurri,” which features chicken breast meat cut into cubes, broiled on bamboo skewers and basted with a sauce containing sugar, mustard, hoisin sauce and vinegar, served over mashed sweet potatoes, and drizzled with chimichurri sauce.

Photographs and recipes of the contest are posted to the web site www.chickencookingcontest.com.

“Sometimes when you have a lot of spice, it can be overpowering, but in this dish the combinations worked well,” said Paul Schultz, executive food editor of the New York Daily News, chairman of the judges, who are newspaper and magazine food writers and editors.

A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Dr. Saulsbury earned her Ph.D. at IU at the end of 2004. In addition to her academic career, Dr. Saulsbury is an exercise instructor and personal trainer.

Winning second place and $10,000 was Rosa Fiore of Shoemakersville, Pennsylvania, who prepared “Sicilian Sweet and Sour Chicken,” which also won high marks for strong flavor with good balance of the sweet and sour elements. Ms. Fiore was born in Sicily and works in a family-owned restaurant as well as operating a tanning salon.

Third place and $5,000 went to Jean Quanbeck of Minot, North Dakota, who made “Chicken Satay Sticks with Wasabi Mayonnaise,” which uses seasoned ground chicken shaped around wooden skewers. Fourth place and $2,000 went to Suzanne Pherigo of Fort Collins, Colorado, with “Roasted Chicken Caprese.” Fifth place and $1,000 was won by Erin Renouf Mylroie of St. George, Utah, who made “Crispy Chicken Salad with Sugared Pecans, Pears and Blue Cheese.”

The National Chicken Cooking Contest is the oldest continuously operated consumer cooking competition in the United States, having started in 1949. It is sponsored by the National Chicken Council and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, two organizations that serve the chicken industry.

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