Chef Competitions Bring the Heat in Colombia

Jul 20, 2016
Grand prize winners
COLOMBIA -- Last week, more than 130 Colombian chefs participated in the second annual Cocina Viva professional chef competitions here hosted by USA Rice, the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, and the Kansas Soybean Commission.  

A jury that included the vice president of the Latin America Federation of Gastronomy and the director of the Colombian Association of Chefs narrowed down the competition to 40 chefs in four regional competitions held in Bogotá, Medellín, and Barranquilla.  The finalists competed against one another, preparing a main course using traditional or modern techniques, but always using American rice and poultry as the primary ingredients.

“I was very excited about the friendly competition this morning,” said Federico Trujilo Uribe, the first place winner in Medellín.  “Congratulations to the wonderful organizations and I am happy to be a part of this marvelous campaign.”

“Cocina Viva is a unique way to spread the word about the versatility and good taste of U.S. rice,” said Brian King, chairman of the USA Rice Western Hemisphere Subcommittee.  “By targeting chefs, we are able to influence their recipe development which will then impact hundreds of their customers.  It’s a cost effective way to target a large number of people.”  

Last year, Colombia was the United States’ third largest export market bringing in nearly 330,000 MT of U.S. rice, valued at approximately $150 million.  In the first five months of this year, the U.S. has exported over 100,000 MT to Colombia, valued at over $40 million, making Colombia the United States’ sixth largest rice export market this year.  On average, 30-40 percent of U.S. rice exports to Colombia are in paddy form.

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