McCain Foods, a supplier of foodservice frozen potato and appetizer products, has announced the winning chefs, recipe concepts, and charities receiving donations totaling $50,000 at the EPIC Throwdown LIVE held at the 2023 National Restaurant Association Show, May 20-23.

"In one epic weekend, seven chefs inspired food operators of all types with eight versatile dishes featuring our award-winning McCain Mini Mashers potato bites," said Tracy Hostetler, VP, head of North American Potato Marketing at McCain Foods. "From ice cream sandwiches to gnocchi and everything in between, each creation showcased how our innovative McCain Mini Mashers can add value to any menu and are endlessly customizable to satisfy a variety of appetites. The fierce competition, mouthwatering dishes, and charitable donations we drove through the event left us all walking away as winners."

The winning chefs and recipe concepts from each battle are:

  • Global Appetizer — Chef Sarah Grueneberg reigned victorious with an Italian-inspired cheesy pull-apart McCain Mini Mashers Potato Frico against chef Jen Carroll's Korean Honey BBQ McCain Mini Mashers Potato Poppers tossed in hot honey and a spicy-sweet gochujang glaze and sprinkled with white sesame seeds and scallions.
  • Entrée — Chef Victor Jacinto won the entrée challenge with a brown butter McCain Mini Mashers Gnocchi garnished with mushrooms, lemon and finished with Parmigiano-Reggiano against chef Maria Mazon's Carne Con McCain Mini Mashers Papas infused with spices and Oxacan cheese.
  • Comfort Food — Chef Spike Mendelsohn walked away a winner with his plant-based Bang Bang McCain Mini Mashers Potato Poppers stuffed with vegan cream cheese and vegan bacon against chef Damarr Brown's Spicy Harissa McCain Mini Mashers Potato Bites with sweet peas and topped with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.
  • Out-of-the-Box Appetizer — Chef Jen Carroll won the judges over with her McCain Mini Mashers Chips Ice Cream Sandwich that featured vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two McCain Mini Mashers waffle cone chips topped with sea salt and rolled in sprinkles, while chef Beau MacMillan impressed the judges with his crispy McCain Mini Mashers Korean Hot Dogs drizzled with fermented chili and honey aioli and garnished with scallions.

McCain Foods awarded each of the winning chefs $10,000, and each of the runners-up $2,500 to donate to their charity of choice for a total of $50,000 donated to charity. The recipient charities are: 

For more information about the EPIC Throwdown, visit or