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Bemidji woman wins $25,000 in cranberry juice recipes contest

Patrice Hurd

Patrice Hurd of Bemidji won a $25,000 grand prize Tuesday in Ocean Spray's third annual Ultimate Cranberry Recipe Contest. The results were announced during a private cocktail reception at Rockefeller Center in New York City. Prizes were awarded by celebrity chef Tyler Florence.

Hurd, a veteran cooking contest participant, won the consumer division with her Cranberry Bacon Brunch Scones with Cranberry Pecan Cream Cheese recipe . Chris Wright of Saz's in Waukesha, Wis., was the food service division winner with his Cranberry Wontons with Cranberry Jalapeno Jelly Dipping Sauce recipe.

The reception was held in conjunction with the kick-off of Ocean Spray's "Big Apple Bog," where more than 2,000 pounds of glimmering cranberries are on display in a free-standing urban cranberry bog in Rockefeller Center.

"All of the finalists incorporated cranberries into recipes in very clever ways -- it was difficult to choose just one winning recipe for each category," said Florence. "Ultimately, all of the judges felt that Patrice Hurd's and Chris Wright's recipe's best showcased the year-round versatility of the cranberry."

The contest was open to anyone with a passion for cranberries. Home cooks were encouraged to enter the consumer category while food professionals, from established chefs to recent culinary graduates, were encouraged to submit for the food service division. The contest attracted more than 2,000 recipes.

Recipes were judged on creativity, use of product, taste, overall appearance and ease of preparation. The panel of judges, including Florence, Chef Chris Gatto of UNO Chicago Grill and Woman's Day Food Director Jackie Plant, evaluated eight cranberry recipes (four finalists per category) during a cook-off at De Gustibus Cooking School in New York City on Monday.

Hurd competed in the Sutter Home Vineyards Build a Better Burger contest last month in Napa Valley., Calif., capturing the People's Choice award.