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Press Release: California Milk Advisory Board Announces Cal-Mex Invitational Foodservice Competition

Professional chefs to compete for over $22,000 in prizes at live cook-off event at the
Culinary Institute of America in Napa, Calif.

Tracy, Calif. – MAY 31, 2022 – The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) today announced a new culinary competition for foodservice that celebrates the fusion of California and Mexican cuisines, the Cal-Mex Invitational. The Cal-Mex Invitational captures the culinary trends of global flavors and ethnic fare, trends California – as the leading producer of Hispanic-style cheese and dairy products in the United States – is well positioned to tap into.

For the Invitational, a select group of professional chefs from across the U.S. will be invited to submit recipes covering three meal occasions that showcase the innovative use of Hispanic-style Real California cheese and dairy products in each. A panel of expert judges will choose the best two recipes in each category – appetizer, entrée, and dessert. The winning chefs will then compete in a head-to-head cook-off at the Culinary Institute of America at Copia in Napa, Calif. on August 3, 2022, for over $22,000 in cash prizes and recognition as a Cal-Mex leader.

“Culinary competitions like the Cal-Mex Invitational create an opportunity to work with and recognize chefs who are using California cheese and dairy product in an innovative and exciting way,” said Mike Gallagher, Business and Market Development Consultant for the CMAB. “We look forward to exploring the Cal-Mex category through their dishes.”

The live, cook-off event will be presented online where viewers can watch as chefs prepare dishes in front of the judges and are evaluated by criteria, such as the use of Hispanic-style California dairy products, taste, texture and presentation, and creativity.

Based on scoring, each category winner will receive a trophy and $5,000 prize. Category runners-up each receive a certificate and $1,500. Non-finalists receive a certificate and $500 each.

For more details and the latest updates about the inaugural Cal-Mex Invitational, the competitors and competing dishes visit

California leads the nation in milk production and is responsible for producing more butter, ice cream and nonfat dry milk than any other state. The state is the second-largest producer of cheese and yogurt. 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.


 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’s sustainable 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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