Real California Milk Foodservice Debuts Cheese & Mac Recipe Challenge to Highlight Culinary Innovation Using California Cheese & Dairy

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California Milk Advisory Board taps into popularity of comfort classic for
culinary inspiration in new foodservice recipe contest

TRACY, Calif. – May 1, 2023 – The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) today announced the launch of an inaugural foodservice contest challenging professional chefs and culinary students to develop creative Cheese & Mac dishes using Real California cheese and dairy products. The “Real California Cheese & Mac Challenge” is a search for recipes with new, inventive takes on the classic comfort food.


The CMAB is promoting this online recipe contest to capture the ongoing popularity of Cheese & Mac (aka Mac & Cheese) dishes in foodservice. This traditional dairy-centric dish continues to be a platform for showcasing culinary trends and remains a menu standard for all dayparts.


The Real California Cheese & Mac Challenge is open to professional chefs and culinary students in the U.S., offering the opportunity to submit creative recipes online to showcase the use of cheeses made in California for a chance to win up to $5,000. Prominent foodservice judges will select six winning recipes for sensory evaluation to determine the ultimate grand prize winner.


Each chef finalist will receive $2,000, with the winning dish receiving an additional $3,000 for a total of $5,000 awarded to the Real California Cheese & Mac Challenge Champion.


“This recipe contest is part of our continued efforts to partner with chefs and the next generation of culinary professionals to showcase the versatility and performance of California dairy products as key foodservice ingredients,” said Mike Gallagher, Business and Market Development Consultant for the CMAB. “California cheeses and dairy products are central to culinary innovation. The Real California Cheese & Mac Challenge will serve to reinforce chefs’ awareness of the endless varieties and styles of real cheeses and dairy ingredients from California, that are made with milk from family farms using the most sustainable farming practices in the U.S.”


The entry period for submitting recipes is May 1-June 15, 2023. The six winning Cheese & Mac recipes will be announced in July with the grand prize announcement on August 31, 2023. For more information, including entry details, visit


California is a reliable, consistent source of sustainable dairy products used by chefs throughout the world. As the nation’s largest dairy state, California boasts an impressive lineup of award-winning cheesemakers and dairy processors that are helping to drive dining innovation.


California is the leading producer of fluid milk, butter, and ice cream as well as Mozzarella, Hispanic-style cheese and dairy, and Monterey Jack. California milk and dairy foods can be identified by the Real California Milk seal, which certifies they are made exclusively with sustainably sourced milk from the state’s dairy farm families.


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About Real California Milk/the California Milk Advisory Board
The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), an instrumentality of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, is funded by the state’s dairy farm families who lead the nation in sustainable dairy farming practices. With a vision to nourish the world with the wholesome goodness of Real California Milk, the CMAB’s programs focus on increasing demand for California dairy products in the state, across the U.S. and around the world through advertising, public relations, research, and retail and foodservice promotional programs.


The Foodservice Division of the CMAB supports foodservice operators and distributors that use Real California dairy products. The CMAB offers marketing and promotional support for foodservice operators that purchase dairy products with the Real California Milk seal, which means they are made with 100 percent milk from California’s more than 1,100 family dairy farms, using some of the most sustainable dairy practices in the nation.


For more information on sourcing cheese from California, contact the foodservice team at 209.883.6455 (MILK), or, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

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