The entries poured in from across the country for our recent “I Love My Whole Grains” contest. There were photos of cute kids eating cereal, shots of mischievous puppies stealing cookies, and elegant still life compositions of whole grain salads. We read heartfelt essays and clever poems, and marveled at the cleverness and originality of our contestants.

In the end, when the difficult judging decisions were made, Cynthia Beaumont of North Bergen, NJ was declared our Grand Prize Winner, for her entry describing how she’s taught her mom to find the Whole Grain Stamp. (Click here to see Cynthia’s winning entry and a list of other winners) She’s already receiving almost-daily “whole grain pantry” food prizes, from our generous prize donors. (Take a look at all this great stuff that all 48 of our winners get to sample!)

Cynthia’s Grand Prize, however, will arrive in early January, when award-winning Chef Paul Lynch (pictured here) of the FireLake Grill House and Cocktail Bar in Minneapolis will fly in for an amazing whole grain cook-a-thon. Assisted by his trusty sous-chef (that would be me), Paul will shop and prep one day, then spend the next day cooking a week’s worth of savory, delectable dinners for Cynthia Beaumont, her husband, and her mother. We’ll leave the Beaumonts sitting down to dinner, with the rest of the week’s bounty stored in their fridge and freezer.

I’ve enjoyed Chef Paul’s creative culinary flair many times before. He was himself a winner in our 2007 Whole Grains Challenge foodservice contest, after which we invited him to become a Culinary Advisor to the Whole Grains Council. After that, he was one of our Iron Chef contestants at our Kansas City Whole Grains Council conference, and demonstrated his skills once again last April in Alexandria, VA – always drawing rave reviews from those lucky enough to taste the results.

If you entered our contest and weren’t fortunate enough to win, your only recourse is to schedule a trip to Minneapolis, and visit Paul’s restaurant. Or – keep your fingers crossed – maybe we’ll be able to convince him to share a recipe or two after the Grand Prize Cooking Spree is complete. (Cindy)

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