USA Pears Names Winner of Nationwide Culinary Student Contest

Three student finalists dished up their pear recipes for judges at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland, Ore.



Three Student Finalists Dished Up their Pear Recipes for the Judging Panel at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland, Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. (April 2, 2010) – A creative pear and scallop appetizer took top prize on March 31 at the second annual USA Pears Culinary Student Recipe competition, which is open to U.S. culinary students nationwide.

The recipe, simply entitled “Pears + Scallops,” created by Texas Culinary Academy student John “Keith” Paugh features fresh pears poached in Riesling seasoned with cayenne pepper, vanilla bean, bay leaf, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon. The poached pears are then sliced into the same size and shape as the sea scallops that are featured in the dish. The scallops are garnished with sliced pears, and the scallop-shaped pears are garnished with sliced scallops. This playful culinary execution lends appeal to both the eye and the palate.

Paugh and two other student finalists prepared their recipes for a panel of four judges in an American Idol style presentation. Cindy Bolla, of South Seattle Community College took second prize with her “Pear Braised Pork Belly,” and Adrienne Brennan of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu took third place with her “Fazzoletti with Pear, Pancetta, and Radicchio.” The three students were selected from a collection of nearly one hundred entries from students across the nation, and won travel and hotel accommodations to Portland, Ore. to compete for the top cash prize. In addition each of the finalists’ schools is receiving a donation to their respective scholarship funds from Pear Bureau Northwest.

Judging the competition were Kathy Hayden, editor of Flavor and the Menu Magazine; David Katz, chef-owner of MeMe restaurant in Philadelphia; Jennifer Heigl, managing editor of; and DJ Wendeborn, chef instructor at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Portland.

Dennis James, director of marketing at Pear Bureau Northwest noted “our culinary student competitions provide an excellent medium for educating and engaging future chefs about the versatility of pears on the menu. We receive incredibly creative recipes from students across the country, and we’re pleased to see them using fresh pears in such inspired ways.”

A similar contest is being conducted in Canada this spring, where five regional winners will be named later this month. Those top five students will travel to Vancouver, BC to compete in person at a finale to be conducted on May 11th in conjunction with the CPMA convention and trade show taking place the same week.

About Pear Bureau Northwest & USA Pears

The Pear Bureau Northwest is a nonprofit marketing organization established in 1931 to promote the fresh USA Pears grown in Washington and Oregon. The Bureau represents more than 1,600 growers who grow 84 percent of the nation’s fresh pear crop, and develops national and international markets for Northwest pear distribution. For more information, visit

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Media Contact: Cristie Mather, Director of Communications, Pear Bureau Northwest


Pear Bureau Northwest prohibits discrimination in all of its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, political beliefs, or disability.  Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the Pear Bureau at (503) 652-9720.