Kowalski's Chef Wins National Competition

Rachael Perron was recently named the FMI Supermarket Chef Showdown Grand Champion.
Rachael Perron (center)

For those of you White Bear residents who swear up and down that Kowalski’s deli food is the best around, here’s a little affirmation— you’re probably right.  The chefs there are top notch, particularly Rachael Perron, who recently won a national cooking competition.

In early June, Perron competed in the FMI Supermarket Chef Showdown, traveling to Chicago for the final stage of the competition.

With illustrious judges such as Janet McCracken, (test kitchen director for Everyday with Rachael Ray) award-winning chefs and food industry gurus, the competition was fierce as the 24 finalist from around the country battled it out for first place.

Perron was awarded the honor of Grand Champion, as well as the winner of the Healthy Food category with her Greek Grain Salad with Dilled Feta Dressing, after competing in front of a live audience.

Clearly her food is something worth tasting, so this summer, do yourself a favor and head over to Kowalski’s for a delicious meal made by Chef Rachael Perron.

Kowalski's Executive Chef Rachael Perron’s Winning Salad:

Greek Grain Salad with Dilled Feta Dressing

Serves 4

1 cup cooked red quinoa, cooled
½ cup cooked wheat berries, cooled
2 tsp. Crisco 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (approx.), divided
½ tsp. McCormick® Gourmet Collection Mediterranean Oregano Leaves
½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
½ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper (or more to taste), divided
½ cup low fat plain yogurt
1 ½ oz. French feta cheese, crumbled
2 tbsp. snipped fresh dill
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest (approx.)
1 cup rinsed and drained canned garbanzo beans
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1 cup peeled, chopped cucumber
6 dried apricot halves, finely diced
2 tbsp. finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp. thinly sliced green onion
2 tbsp. chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 small (4" diameter) whole wheat pita breads, cut into wedges

In a medium mixing bowl; toss grains with oil and half of the lemon juice. Season with oregano, half of the salt and half of the pepper; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, whisk yogurt with cheese, dill, zest and remaining salt, pepper and lemon juice; set aside. In a large mixing or salad bowl, combine beans, tomatoes, cucumber, apricots, onions and parsley. Add quinoa mixture to bean and vegetable mixture; toss gently to combine. Divide salad among 4 serving dishes; serve each portion with an equal amount of dressing and pita wedges.