Apr 17, 2020
USA RICE HOME OFFICES, ACROSS THE USA -- As the third (or fourth, or fifth?) week of the COVID-19 shutdown dragged on, USA Rice decided to hold an all-staff virtual rice recipe cooking competition to boost morale and stay connected during these unprecedented times.
The fact that staff at the Arlington office is teleworking definitely helped level the playing field as each recipe submission was simply a photo since taste testing wasn’t achievable. The only contest criteria was that the rice dish had to be made with a U.S.-grown variety. But, really, would USA Rice staff use anything else?
There were 18 submissions, and highlights included: Blend of the Bayou, a rice-based cheese casserole; Rice N’ Shine Savory Rice Pancakes; Jambalayin’ Inside All Day; Butternut Squash Risotto; Quick & Easy Crawfish Étouffée; Stuffed Cabbage Rolls and Creamed Chipped Beef over Rice; and Wyoming Antelope, Texas Hill Country Whitetail & Wayne Jacob’s Andouille Jambalaya.
“Later this month, USA Rice is hosting a digital recipe contest for our consumer audience and we knew a similar staff competition would provide inspiration and produce some engaging content,” said Cameron Jacobs, USA Rice director of domestic promotion. “Plus, our office has been closed since March 13 and we haven’t been together, face-to-face, other than Zoom meetings and team chats, so this recipe contest helped us reconnect in a fun, creative way.”
Katie Maher, director of strategic initiatives, and Sean Mullen, accounting manager, tied for second place with their respective submissions of Meatballs with Parmesan Garlic Rice, and Brown Rice with Vegetable Curry. As Mullen said, “With all the downtime at home, I was browsing the internet for recipes and found something new to try. I made the dish for Sunday dinner with my brother. We both enjoy eating rice!”
Annnd the winning recipe is…Spring Peas and Shiitake Mushroom Risotto submitted by USA Rice Staff Writer Lesley Dixon!
For her victory, Lesley not only walked away with bragging rights, but also a 6-pack of Serves You Rice, the newly released, Washington DC-based Hellbender craft beer made with Blanca Isabel Purple Rice grown in Rayne, Louisiana, by USA Rice member Fred Zaunbrecher.