San Diego's World Food Champion Ricardo Heredia Wins KitchenAid Apple Challenge

Ricardo Heredia's award-winning apple bacon tacos
November 23, 2015

San Diego chef Ricardo Heredia has a knack for food competitions. He brought home the title of World Bacon Champion at the 2013 World Food Championships. He repeated in 2014 and also won the whole thing. Although Heredia did not win this year's World Food Championship, his apple bacon tacos recently beat out nearly 1,000 chefs to win the KitchenAid Apple Challenge.

In partnership with Food Network, Food Network Magazine and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, KitchenAid recently named Ricardo Heredia of San Diego as winner of the KitchenAid Apple Challenge, the brand's and Food Network's first-ever hashtag-based social media contest. Heredia's winning recipe for Apple Bacon Tacos was selected by Chef Zakarian from four semi-finalist recipes.

Chef Ricardo cooking up his winning recipe
The KitchenAid Apple Challenge, which ran from August 17 through September 14, invited cooks to create an original recipe using an apple as a primary ingredient, and share a photo and description of their recipe using #KitchenAidContest. Over 900 participants submitted their original recipes in hopes of winning the ultimate prize package for those who love to cook: a private cooking lesson with Chef Zakarian, a new suite of black stainless appliances from KitchenAid and the opportunity to have their winning recipe appear in the December issue of Food Network Magazine.

"We are truly impressed by the number and quality of submissions we received for this exciting contest," said Beth Robinson, senior manager of brand experience for KitchenAid. "The challenge was a wonderful opportunity for us to connect with accomplished home cooks, and for them to share their inspirational and innovative recipes."

Chef Ricardo and Iron Chef Zakarian
On October 20, the four semi-finalists recreated their original recipes in a cook-off judged by Chef Zakarian in New York (see video below). Semi-finalists were judged based on their recipe's overall creativity, taste, completeness and inventive use of the key ingredient. The four semi-finalist recipes included Hibiscus Poached Apples atop Pistachio Clouds by Sandy Yagu; Savory Stuffed Apples with Sausage, Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese by Emily Lum; Savory Apple Galette with Pancetta and Brussel Sprout Leaves by MacKenzie Severson; and the winning recipe, Apple Bacon Tacos by Chef Ricardo.

"All of the finalists were successful in creating original and innovative recipes," said Chef Zakarian. "But Mr. Heredia did an exceptional job of showcasing the distinct flavors of the apple in a delicious and inventive dish."

The recipe for Apple Bacon Tacos will be published in Food Network Magazine's December issue, on newsstands nationwide on November 24, and all finalist recipes are available on the KitchenAid blog, The Kitchenthusiast and