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Chef Erkan Bektas Wins USA Rice Cooking Competition in Istanbul
ISTANBUL, TURKEY -- Chef Erkan Bektas of the Marriott Hotel in Istanbul was named the winner of the USA Rice Federation's wild rice recipe competition. Five competitors from around the country entered more than 80 recipes in the wild rice mix category.
USA Rice collaborated with the Istanbul Chefs Association, and FoodinLife Magazine to promote the contest in print and via the internet to foodservice professionals, encouraging them to enter economical, practical, and creative recipes featuring U.S. wild rice and wild rice mixes.
A panel of judges, including Fikret Özdemir, a national celebrity chef, whittled the submitted menu entries to five finalists. During the hands-on competition, each contestant had 90 minutes to prepare a menu using U.S.-grown rice. Winners were selected based on originality and reproducibility of the menu, plate presentation, and how well the menu featured U.S. wild rice and U.S. medium-grain rice.
Mr. Bektas' award winning recipe was "Risotto with Wild Rice and Seafood." Second place was awarded to Mr. Fatih Taskiran of the Sheraton Atakoy Hotel, and third place went to Mr. Erdal Gül of the Radisson Blu Hotel.
USA Rice works closely with Turkey's food industry to develop healthy meals that include U.S.-grown rice and encourages chefs to add rice to their menus year-round.
Photo caption: Behind the scenes