Your $25,000 Sandwich

"The Balboa" (aka, the Italian Philly)
The 2010 winner, "The Balboa" (aka, the Italian Philly). Click image for the recipe.

Got a sandwich that doesn’t mess around? (Actually being messy is probably okay, though.) Mezzetta, the pepper and olive people are sponsoring a recipe contest calling for killer sandwiches. Considering that peppers are most likely to be involved, these look to be some flavorful entries for sure. Click through to read the whole press release, including information on how to enter.

$25,000 Mezzetta® “Make That Sandwich” Recipe Contest Returns for Its Fourth Year

Celebrity Chef Challenge is Back and New Twist as Home Cook Finalists Compete for Your Online Votes

NAPA VALLEY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Celebrity chefs and home cooks across the country will once again take to their kitchens to create the best sandwich recipe as Mezzetta Specialty Foods, America’s number-one producer of imported and domestic peppers and olives, kicks off the Fourth Annual Mezzetta Make That Sandwich Recipe Contest. The Grand Prize winner will receive $25,000 and a trip for two to Napa Valley, home to Mezzetta.

Home cooks can enter their original recipes for the Mezzetta Make That Sandwich Recipe Contest at in any or all of three categories: cold sandwich, hot sandwich and vegetarian sandwich from May 30 through Labor Day (September 5, 2011). In a new twist this year, Mezzetta is asking the public to choose the Grand Prize winner, who will be selected by online votes from among the top 10 finalists. Entries will be judged first by Mezzetta on appearance, taste, creativity and use of Mezzetta products and narrowed to a field of 10 individuals. The 10 finalists will then be presented to the American public for voting on in September, after the close of contest entries. For inspiration, Mezzetta has compiled a comprehensive database of sandwiches featuring recipes from past winners and finalists along with a few of Mezzetta’s favorites.

Carrying on the tradition initiated for the 2010 contest, this year’s Celebrity Chef Sandwich Charity Challenge features eight culinary masters competing against one another for sandwich superiority and a $10,000 donation to the charity of his or her choice. Each of the eight celebrity chefs created and submitted a recipe incorporating two or more Mezzetta products, including some of the newest showstoppers (Castelvetrano Olives and Italian Garden Vegetables) as well as the classics (Kalamata Olives, Peperoncinis and Roasted Red Bell Peppers), among others. Voters can make their choice for their favorite sandwich once each day of the contest (which runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day 2011) at

“We recently completed a survey that indicates a majority of Americans are seeking variety as nearly two thirds say they don’t typically eat the same sandwich every time,” explained Jeff Mezzetta, President. “Our celebrity chef charity challenge and nationwide contest is all about inspiring folks to overcome sandwich fatigue and explore new culinary territory.”

Celebrity chefs stepping up to the sandwich plate include:

* David Bazirgan from San Francisco, CA, Executive Chef of critically acclaimed Fifth Floor Restaurant, competes for Family House with his “Open Faced Grilled Eggplant Tartine with Mezzetta Pesto, Mezzetta Roasted Peppers, Fresh Mozzarella and Arugula.”
* Michael Ferraro from New York, NY, Executive Chef of Delicatessen and macbar. Recently named one of Zagat’s “30 Under 30: New York’s Hottest Up-and-Comers,” Michael competes for the Lustgarten Foundation with his “Pan-Roasted Chicken Thigh Sandwich, Castelvetrano Olive Pesto, Tri Color Roasted Pepper Aioli, Burrata Cheese on Ciabatta Bread.”
* Ingrid Hoffmann from Miami, FL, Host of Food Network’s, “Simply Delicioso,” competes for The Food and Finance HS (NY Food and Education Fund) with her “Mezzetta Sweet Tapenade Chicken Tostada with Red Pimento Crema.”
* Stephanie Izard from Chicago, IL, Chef/Owner of The Girl & The Goat Restaurant and fourth season winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” competes for Share our Strength with her “Chorizo and Brandade Sandwich, Olive and Pepper Tapenade on Grilled Sourdough.”
* Roger Mooking from Canada, Host and Co-Creator of the internationally broadcast television series, “Everyday Exotic,” competes for Cooking Up Justice By World Vision with his “Shrimp Salad Sandwich.”
* Michael Psilakis from New York, NY, Chef/Owner of Fish Tag. Michael has been named Food & Wine’s “Best New Chef,” Bon Appétit’s “Chef of the Year,” and has regularly appeared on several Food Network shows. He competes for Bobbi Bear with his “OPA! Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Spicy ‘Greek Salad’ on Grilled Ciabbata.”
* David Rocco from Canada, Host of the internationally broadcasted TV series, “David Rocco’s Dolce Vita,” competes for the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund with his “Crostone di Carpaccio with Mezzetta Kalamata Olives, Roasted Bell Peppers and Caramelized Onions.”
* Jeffrey Saad from San Francisco, CA, Host of the Cooking Channel series, “The United Tastes of America,” and fifth season runner-up of “The Next Food Network Star,” competes for Alexandria House with his “Mezzetta Cuban.”

More information on the Mezzetta Make that Sandwich Recipe Contest is available at; online entry begins May 30, 2011. Additionally, full results of the Mezzetta Sandwich Survey will be released in summer 2011.

ABOUT MEZZETTA SPECIALTY FOODS: With a tradition that began in 1935 in San Francisco’s historic North Beach, Mezzetta is a specialty food producer best known for being America’s favorite brand of domestic and imported peppers and olives. Founded by Giuseppe Luigi Mezzetta, an Italian immigrant who started the business selling specialty food items imported from Italy. Jeff Mezzetta, his great grandson, now runs the company from a new facility in the culinary capital of the Napa Valley. The Mezzetta family includes three distinct brands that represent a wide variety of regional culinary specialties made from wholesome, quality ingredients and authentic recipes. Based on a rich Italian-American heritage spanning four generations, Mezzetta is committed to delivering flavor, convenience, and value to today’s health-conscious consumers. For more ideas to spark your imagination, please visit

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