‘Life Tastes Good’ Global Cooking Competition

At the first-ever “Taste of Beverly Hills” wine and food festival, a panel of celebrity chefs proclaimed Brett Youmans from Reading, Pa., America’s “Top Amateur Chef” in the second annual LG Electronics USA “Taste of Something Better” cooking competition this weekend.

The winner took home a prize package, including a complete LG kitchen makeover and the opportunity to represent the United States in LG’s global 2010 “Life Tastes Good” Championship taking place later this month in Seoul, South Korea, with more than 20 representatives from across the world competing for the global title.

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With just under an hour on the clock, competition finalists – Youmans, Paula Mannino of Spokane, Wash., and Lou Kostura of Belmont, Calif. – worked furiously in the LG Kitchen to perfect their culinary masterpieces, says LG Electronics.

Judging the competition was a team of celebrity chefs: Ted Allen, host of the Food Network’s primetime series “Chopped,” Tim Love, season two winner of “Iron Chef America,” Michael Voltaggio, Chef de Cuisine at The Dining Room, Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena, and “Top Chef Masters” fan favorite, Ludo Lefebvre.

After the judges conferred and deliberated, Youmans was crowned the winner for his orange scented lamb skewers atop watercress and roasted fig salad with baked goat cheese crisps prepared on the LG induction cooktop.

Kostura was awarded first runner up for his crab stuffed pork tenderloin cooked to perfection using the LG built-in wall oven, while Mannino took home second runner up for her chicken cacciatore with polenta recipe using the induction cooktop and LG over-the-range microwave with warming lamp technology.

Lifestyle expert Sissy Biggers, who has been showcased on Food Network’s “Ready, Set, and Cook!” and ABC’s “Extreme Makeover,” served as emcee for the Beverly Hills cook-off and festivities.

“It was a great experience to compete in front of an audience and have my dish judged by such culinary talent. All of the finalists did a fantastic job, and it was exciting to compete against them,” said Youmans. “I’m thrilled to be going to Korea to represent the U.S. in LG’s global cooking competition.”

The three finalists, having traveled from various places across the country to compete in the competition, were chosen from hundreds of submissions in an LG-sponsored recipe contest announced earlier this summer.

“LG’s ‘Taste of Something Better’ cooking competition is truly a celebration of the home chef and the many creative recipes that are born out of the home kitchen,” said Ellis Mass, brand director, Home Appliances, LG Electronics USA.

The “Taste of Beverly Hills” presented by FOOD & WINE, will benefit the Beverly Hills Education Foundation, according to LG.

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Rakesh Raman