ATLANTA  (RestaurantNewsRelease.com)  It was a flavorful fight to the finish, innovative recipe pitted against delicious creation, but only one dish could emerge victorious in the battle that was “Ted’s Secret Ingredient Showdown” contest, sponsored by Ted’s Montana Grill, which concluded May 30.  

Amateur chefs and home cooks from all across the country demonstrated their culinary acumen and a penchant for tasty pairings as they devised original appetizers, entrées and desserts using the featured “secret” ingredient and a pre-determined pantry list along with two additional items chosen by the entrants.

The four secret ingredients – bison, Anaheim peppers, crab and strawberries – yielded a myriad of amazing entries, but only one could be the champion.  So who really has what it takes?  Emily Zollner of Parrish, Fla., with her Stacked Filet of Bison Sandwich with Chili Cheese Fries, has been named the Secret Ingredient Showdown Champion.  Zollner’s dish, part of the Bison Category, will receive a featured place on the Ted’s Montana Grill menu for a select period of time, and she wins a free culinary weekend in New York City as well as free food at Ted’s Montana Grill for a year.

First Place/Runner Up is Cheryl Woodson of Liberty, Mo., for her Crabbie ‘Shroom Sliders and Sweet Potato Fries, featuring the secret ingredient Crab.  Michael Stroud of Castle Rock, Colo., takes home Second Place with his zesty Bison Chile Relleno featuring the ingredient Anaheim Peppers.  And for dessert, i.e. the Third Place Winner?  It’s Mary Shivers of Ada, Okla., for her luscious Triple Strawberries & Cream Cake, part of the Strawberries Category.  

Judging for the Showdown entries was based on four criteria:  taste, originality, ease of execution and marketability.  Each winner receives a set of All-Clad cookware, valued from $300-$1200, with First through Third Place winners also getting Ted’s Montana Grill gift cards, ranging from $250 to $500.

To see the winning recipes, as well as a list of all the superlative winners by ingredient category, visit http://contest.tedsmontanagrill.com.