Culinary Flair with the Pear

Photo Credit: Jon Pesochin,

Last Friday, breakfast disguised as dessert and dessert stole from salad. The three finalists of our third annual U.S. culinary student competition heated up the kitchen with their creativity, taking home newfound fame and fortune thanks to their flair with the pear.

Chaz O’Neill’s Pomegranate Pear Stuffed Toast combined the naturally sweet flavors of (real) maple syrup, pear, and pomegranate in a dessert that looked like breakfast. Chaz, who hails from New England, prepared for the contest like a true student of cuisine, packing his secret ingredient—maple syrup from a local sugar shack—carefully in his suitcase. He was understandably nervous, then, when his luggage was lost in transit.

Luckily, he received his suitcase (with maple syrup bottle intact) just two hours before he had to begin prepping his dish for the panel of prestigious foodservice judges.

Michelle Soto of West Linn, OR, created a savory dish that could be fit for dessert or an appetizer. Her Savory Pear Basil Mini-Cheesecakes intrigued the judges, who remarked that the dish enlivened the popular salad combo.

Our third finalist, Jacqui Wou of Santa Barbara, CA, went all out with her entry, preparing not only a dish, but an entire meal: meat, vegetable, fruit and starch. Her Perfectly “Peared” Lamb was beautiful and pear was indeed perfectly poached, said the judges.

Visit our website to view the recipes and results, including the winner of the People’s Choice award!

About Brittany

Hi! I’m Brittany Wilmes, program coordinator at Pear Bureau Northwest. As half of the Communications and PR department at the Pear Bureau, I write about pear pop culture for The Pear Dish—sharing everything pear, from fresh recipes to community involvement to fun décor ideas. Have an article or idea to share? Feel free to email me! In addition to blogging, I’m busy sharing the pear love on behalf of the Pear Bureau Northwest…and eating USA Pears!

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