Minneapolis, Minn. – August 10, 2016- Set your kitchen timers! It’s time to cook! During National Farmers Market Week, local chefs are preparing for the head-to- head competition for the coveted title, Master of the Market 2016. The fifth annual COUNTRY Financial Chef Challenge will take place at the Minneapolis Farmers Market on Saturday, August 13 at 10:00 a.m. with Masters of Ceremony Mike Lynch (Chief Meteorologist, WCCO Radio 830 AM) and Paul Koffy (Morning Drive Host, BUZN 102.9 FM).

Competing chefs will have 20 minutes to shop the market and 30 minutes to create a one-of- a-kind dish from the market’s fresh ingredients. This year’s chefs are:

  • Daniel del Prado: Originally from Argentina, Daniel del Prado’s love of food has taken him around the world, from London to Copenhagen, and in the U.S. from Colorado to Minneapolis. He partnered with longtime friend and mentor, Isaac Becker, and is the Executive Chef at Burch Steak.
  • Marc Paavola: Chef Marc Paavola’s culinary career began with a strong French focus in the Minneapolis area, followed by a move to Alaska where he stretched his culinary interests.  Chef Paavola returned to the Twin Cities, ran small and large establishments and received positive critical review, with his food celebrated in numerous publications.  Marc recently joined the Craftsman Restaurant + Bar as Executive Chef, building classic stylings, working closely with local food producers to create new, dynamic offerings.

A panel of celebrity judges will evaluate their dishes based on: use of the theme “Connecting Culture Through Food,” taste, presentation, creativity and adaptability to re-creation by viewers at home. Sitting on the judging panel will be Bonnie Dehn of Dehn’s Gardens and Board Chair of the Central Minnesota Vegetable Growers Association, novelists Lorna Landvik and Kate DiCamillo, Andy Lien, the managing editor of Lavender Magazine, and Alex Lodner, a freelance writer focusing on the local food scene.

“Purchasing from farmers markets helps boost the local economy, increases sustainability and provides residents with some of the best, most nutritious foods available,” said Bonnie Dehn. “This chef challenge proves just how delicious and easy it can be to eat farm-fresh goods.”

COUNTRY Financial representatives will host a booth at the Chef Challenge to distribute reusable Minneapolis Farmers Market canvas bags. This year’s bag was designed by Amanda Dahl, a student at St. Anthony Village High School. There will also be a chance to win gift cards to the competing chefs’ restaurants.

“The chefs have fascinating backgrounds, and I know they will create masterful and delicious dishes,” said Doug Pyle, COUNTRY Financial Agency Manager “This is always a fabulous event with a standing-room only crowd. Plan to join us to watch these chefs compete and celebrate National Farmers Market Week!”

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About COUNTRY Financial

COUNTRY Financial (www.countryfinancial.com) serves about one million households and businesses throughout the United States. It offers a full range of financial products and services from auto, home and life insurance to retirement planning services, investment management and annuities.

About the Minneapolis Farmers Market

The Minneapolis Farmers Market—run by the Central Minnesota Vegetable Growers non-profit—is dedicated to bringing the highest quality, most delicious, fresh, sustainably farmed plants, fruits, vegetables and farmstead products to its patrons, since 1876. The Minneapolis Market is a source for fresh produce and products for people all over the Twin Cities, served by more than 230 vendors, with a main Lyndale Market open daily May to November. Visit mplsfarmersmarket.com for events and information.