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N.C. SweetPotato Commission offers chefs and restaurateurs some R&R

The North Carolina SweetPotato Commission kicked off a new program designed to recognize and reward chefs and restaurateurs who are supporting North Carolina sweet potato growers by including them and identifying their origin on menus.

Effective Jan. 1 and running through April 30, the commission will be accepting applications from chefs and restaurateurs in North Carolina and surrounding states who want to be considered for this program.

?The objective is identify 10 chefs and/or restaurateurs who are featuring North Carolina sweet potatoes by name on their menus, present them with a certificate of appreciation and reward them with a $100 check," said Sue Johnson-Langdon, executive director of the North Carolina SweetPotato Commission.

If an applicant includes a chain with 10 or more locations, that chain will receive a check for $500. The commission will include up to two chains in this program.

To be considered for the program, each applicant must include North Carolina sweet potatoes on the menu for a minimum of two months and provide documentation such as menus and/or purchase orders for sweet potatoes grown in North Carolina.

?Members of our Chefs Advisory Board have been showing this kind of support since its inception almost four years ago," said Ms. Johnson-Langdon. "A North Carolina sweet potato waffle is on Chef Brian Stapleton?s menu at The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, and Daniel Schurr, executive chef at Second Empire Restaurant in Raleigh has North Carolina mashed sweet potatoes on his menu. We want to encourage more chefs to do the same, so we?re making this investment on behalf of all of the sweet potato growers in our state."

The chefs on the advisory board also show their dedication and support for North Carolina growers by developing and donating recipes for use on postcards, recipe brochures and the commission?s web site.

Julie Scott, vice president of account service at The Thacker Group, the public relations firm that coordinates the Chefs Advisory Board and other public relations and promotion programs on behalf of the commission, added, "Several of the chefs have donated their time and energy to serve as spokespeople on local and national television and radio. Most recently, the chefs lent their names, faces and celebrity for a chef trading card program that features the chef on one side and a North Carolina sweet potato recipe on the other."

Currently, 14 chefs from around the state serve on the NCSPC Chefs Advisory Board.

For more information about the Restaurant Reward & Recognition program, contact Julie Scott at 918/382-7272 or by e-mail at Julie@thackergroup.com.

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