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2009 National Beef Cook-Off Calls for "Sonoma-Style" recipe entries

Beef Checkoff-funded program aims to promote the taste, health and convenience of beef

In 2009, Sonoma, Calif., will be known for inventive beef recipes. The 28th National Beef Cook-Off, funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, will come to Sonoma in late September, during the peak of the area's beautiful harvest season, to host both a Home Cook competition and a Chef/Media Challenge. Home cooks nationwide, and local professional restaurant chefs working in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento metropolitan area counties, are encouraged to showcase their "Sonoma-Style" by entering their original, newly developed beef recipes by March 31.

The Cook-Off is a communication program with food media designed to promote beef consumption by reaching the food and health-involved consumer with appealing beef recipes that deliver on taste, health and convenience benefits. This promotion event, funded by the beef checkoff, provides significant opportunities to publicize and promote the consumption of beef.

"The program continues to be a great platform to provide beef recipes that help meet consumers' needs for taste, health and convenience," said Fita Witte, President for the American National CattleWomen, Inc., the beef industry organization which presents the National Beef Cook-Off on behalf of the Cattlemen's Beef Board and the Federation of State Beef Councils. The Beef Checkoff Program along with contest sponsors Raley's Bel Air and Nob Hill Foods, the official grocer of the 2009 National Beef Cook-Off, Korbel-Kenwood Vineyards, and Kunde Vineyards, are bringing the best competition yet to Sonoma.

Home cooks nationwide submit thousands of entries for the biannual National Beef Cook-Off at www.beefcookoff.org or by mail."

To capitalize on today's culinary trends, the Cook-Off is introducing four new categories this year:

--Live Well with Fast and Convenient Grilled Beef Recipes

--Teens Cooking with Beef

--Lean Beef in Nutrient-Rich One-Dish Meals

--San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento Counties "Best of Beef" Chefs

For the first time, the Cook-Off is inviting local professional restaurant chefs to show their eclectic regional flair for beef. These new categories will inspire home cooks and professional restaurants chefs to become inspired by the beautiful Sonoma landscape to create delicious, healthy beef dishes that will promote beef as a center-of-the-plate option to help drive beef demand for 2009 and beyond.

Fifteen home cooks will compete for the "Best of Beef" grand prize of $25,000 and six other cash prizes with a total of $70,000 up for grabs. Six professional restaurant chefs will compete for prizes totaling $5,000 in Sonoma on Sept. 23. The deadline for entries is March 31.

In addition to promoting beef's taste, health and convenience, the Cook-Off drives awareness and purchase of a variety of fresh beef cuts. It encourages entrants to share a recipe that incorporates their favorite way to prepare beef, matching the cooking method to beef cuts to ensure success - whether it's pan-broil, stir-fry, grilled, broiled, roasted or braised. One category pairs lean beef with other nutrient-rich ingredients to promote enjoyable, healthful meals. Recipes can be submitted online, and the contest rules and winning recipes from past contests can be explored at www.beefcookoff.org.



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