A Newhall woman is one of four finalists for the Aetna Health Food Fight More than 450 recipes were submitted and four regional semi-final cook-offs held to determine the top cooks.
Merry Graham is one of the competitors who will will not only have the chance to cook for Bobby Flay in the finale and compete for the grand prize of $10,000 worth of groceries from Recipe.com, but will also have the chance to become The Healthy Food Fight “Fan Favorite” and donate $10,000 to a charity that incorporates healthy cooking and nutrition into their overall mission. Voting will take place on The Healthy Food Fight website — www.healthyfoodfight.com.
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This isn’t Graham’s first step into the kitchen foray. Her culinary prowess earned her a trip to the Aspen Food and Wine Festival in 2009; her Snappy Shrimp and Strawberry Coleslaw recipe wowed the judges at the 2010 Oxnard Strawberry Festival and she was named the winner of Tree Top Apple Juice’s “America’s Secret Ingredient” contest in October 2010 with her creation of Poached Ginger Apple Sea Bass, which gave her a chance to visit Food Network and the New York City Wine and Food Festival.
The four finalists who will compete in the finale on December 2 at ABC Studios in Times Square are:
– Graham won the regional semi-final at the Taste of Atlanta with a Black Bean and Sweet Potato Porridge with Jicama Pico de Gallo recipe. If she wins, she will be donating the money to the Whole Kids Foundation, whose mission is to improve children’s nutrition and wellness with the goal of ending the childhood obesity epidemic.
– Mary Edwards from Long Beach, who won the regional semi-final at the Los Angeles County Fair with a Salmon Pozole recipe. If Edwards wins, she will be donating the money to GrowingGreat, a grassroots nonprofit that inspires children and adults to adopt healthy eating habits through innovative, parent-led school garden and nutrition education programs.
– Lindsey Cook from Dallas, Texas, who won the regional semi-final at the State Fair of Texas with a Quinoa Stuffed Bell Pepper recipe. If Cook wins, she will be donating the money to Deep Ellum Urban Garden, a project run and supported by the Deep Ellum Community Association and the Deep Ellum Foundation. The groups’ mission is to help Dallas residents grow food for themselves, increase their healthy activity, get to know their neighbors, learn from each other, and create a productive and beautiful common.
– Rob Tu from Solon, Ohio, who won the regional semi-final at the Peddler’s Village Apple Festival in Lahaska, Pennsylvania with a Pan-Seared Salmon with Vegetable Couscous, Mango Salsa and Tomato Salad recipe. If Tu wins, he will be donating the money to the American Diabetes Association, which works to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes, including providing nutritional tips and information.
“I can’t wait to be one of the judges at the finale and experience these great recipes,” said Bobby Flay, critically acclaimed chef/restaurateur, cookbook author and TV personality. “All of these finalists have proven that you can make healthy, creative meals that are truly delicious.”
To help people decide on their favorite finalist, The Healthy Food Fight website features profiles of the finalists describing why they should be voted as the “Fan Favorite,” as well as the secrets behind their prize-winning recipes. In addition to choosing the “Fan Favorite,” voters can also join The Healthy Food Fight community on Facebook — www.facebook.com/healthyfoodfight
Individuals who register and vote on The Healthy Food Fight website will receive a free electronic copy of The Healthy Food Fight Top 40 Recipe Book, which features the top 10 recipes from this year’s four regional semi-final competitions, as well as one of Bobby Flay’s favorite healthy recipes.
The Healthy Food Fight “Fan Favorite” will also win the opportunity to participate in a Cooking Class “Boot Camp” administered by The Culinary Institute of America, which has worked with Aetna the last two years to help develop The Healthy Food Fight.