Aug 26, 2019 • By

Strawberry dessert claims top contest prize

According to his parents, Kevin Brown has loved cooking since he was five years old.

That fascination with food as a child has paid off in a new way. He’s the grand prize winner of the 5th Annual Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest from General Mills Foodservice, thanks to his role as the executive chef of SELECT Restaurant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Meet the 2019 Neighborhood to Nation Contest Grand Prize Winner

Meet Chef Kevin Brown of SELECT Restaurant in Spartanburg, SC, winner of the 2019 Neighborhood to Nation Foodservice Contest.

Brown’s award-winning Strawberry Pandowdy recipe combines Pillsbury Southern Style Easy Split Frozen Dough Biscuits, broken into pieces, with a creamy, sweet strawberry mixture that is baked and served warm in a skillet, and topped with vanilla bean ice cream.

The contest judges raved that the dessert was “an authentic signature item,” “very unique” with “fantastic aroma” and “lovely flavor,” among other accolades.

A team from General Mills, including the Pillsbury Doughboy, surprised Brown with the news during a celebratory event on Saturday at SELECT.


“Our team had been traveling across the U.S. all week celebrating our 10 regional winners. Saturday was our final stop and we were able to surprise Kevin with the news that he was not only a regional winner, but our grand prize winner,” says Kelley Walhof, assistant marketing communications manager for General Mills Foodservice. “He was ecstatic and so grateful. His wife ran up to him crying when we announced the news. Kevin’s parents were at the event as well.”



As the grand prize recipe winner, Brown receives a total of $10,000 in cash and $2,000 to share with a local charity, as well as a three-day trip for two to the 2019 New York City Wine & Food Festival, the premier food and wine event that celebrates America’s favorite foods.

Brown chose to share his $2,000 donation with Greer Community Ministries, which offers programs and services to ensure no elderly, homebound or disadvantaged person in the Greater Greer area in South Carolina will go hungry.

“Our judges loved everything, from the flavor inspiration to the presentation of Kevin’s dessert item,” says Alyca Judge, senior marketing manager for General Mills Foodservice. “His modern twist on old-school bread pudding makes innovative use of biscuits with the fresh taste of strawberries, creating a new dessert that his diners are already clamoring for.”


The Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest celebrates independent family or “neighborhood” restaurants and food trucks and the one-of-a-kind dishes that reflect their local flavor.

To celebrate its fifth year of recognizing great food and flavors across the country, the contest doubled the number of regional winners to give even more independent restaurants and food trucks the chance to win part of the more than $200,000 in cash and prizes awarded in the contest.

“Running a restaurant is a tough business and these owners deserve to be rewarded for their hard work and their one-of-a-kind recipes,” adds Walhof. “We want to recognize them for the important role they play in their communities.”

Restaurants and food trucks from around the U.S. submitted original recipes that used at least one ingredient from General Mills’ list of eligible products.

Brown was one of two winners from the South East Region. The other regional winners are:

Each regional winner received $5,000 in cash and an additional $1,000 to share with a local charity of their choice.

Throughout August, the Neighborhood to Nation “prize patrol” traveled to each of the winners’ hometowns to host special celebrations with staff, friends, family and the greater community.

“Traveling the country and celebrating with great food, recognition and conversation has provided a wonderful window into the world of cooking, recipes and creativity,” Judge says. “With double the number of prize winners this year, we had even more reasons to connect and celebrate.  We enjoyed every minute of it!”

For more information on Neighborhood to Nation and the 2019 winners, visit

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