The Dole California Cookoff 2013

Do you remember when I went to Los Angeles last year to live blog the Dole California Cook Off?

I do.

It was so much fun. Crazy amounts of fun. And not just for me – the contestants were the ones having the time of their lives. Last year, 3 finalists got their grill on in a showdown to out shine each other for a whopping $10,000.

That’s right, Ten Grand.

This year, Dole is kicking off their Cook Off with flare. And apparently, ten grand wasn’t enough for them this year, so they bumped that prize money up just a bit… to $25,000.

Twenty Five Grand.

Now, I don’t know about YOU, but twenty five grand to me is a heckuva lot of money. I could use that, couldn’t you? Well, I know most of you guys, and if you’re reading this, you can COOK. I know you don’t come here for my scathing wit – you come here for recipes.

So therefore…you can COOK.

And cook you should! I hope all of you will enter this contest, because you know what?

I will be there in LA again this year, and I want to see YOU there too, as a finalist!

(Of course, meeting me would be the icing on your cake, I know, but Ben Ford will be there too, and um, the purse of $25k. But yeah, I’m the icing. I know.)

So enter! Enter more than once! Just get your game face on and get grilling. I know you can do it.

Hope to see you there!

Dole has asked me to share more info on the Cook Off and how to enter:

The fifth annual DOLE® California Cook-Off contest is now accepting grilling recipes at One talented griller will take home a whopping $25,000 in addition to 4 days/3 nights in celebrity-centric L.A. and earn the respect of celebrity chef Ben Ford!

If you’re a fan of grilling and have a special, family-favorite recipe that incorporates a DOLE packaged product, we want to know about it! Submit a bite-sized version in the DOLE 2013 California Cook-Off recipe contest on and be ready to be judged on your best use of DOLE products, creativity, flavor and taste. It’s that simple!

Three finalists will be selected from around the nation and flown to sunny Southern California in late June, where they will don official Cook-Off aprons and prepare their delectable Dole dish in front of envious onlookers and a panel of judges led by a renowned celebrity chef, Ben Ford of Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, Calif. Hungry for the challenge but nervous about preparing your dish in the limelight? Don’t sweat it! During the final Cook-off each finalist will have a L.A. based food blogger as their Sous Chef, all personally selected by Dole.

The 2013 DOLE California Cook-Off contest launched March 17, 2013 at 12 a.m. ET and closes on May 15, 2013. Submit a delicious appetizer, small plate, tapas, taster, or just a healthier portion sized dish that can be prepared in 60 minutes or less on a gas grill using at least one DOLE product and no more than seven additional ingredients. Participation is simple – check out for more information and the official contest rules.

Want to see the $10,000 Winning Recipe from last year? I know you do. And if you don’t, it’s totally YOUR loss! I was fortunate enough to have one of these delicious sliders, and let me tell you, it’s some kind of tasty. Hopefully it will give you a little inspiration to get your grill on!

Taste of Dole Island Pork Sliders

Prep: 35 min. Cook: 40 min. Makes: 12 servings

  • 1 can (20 oz.) Dole® pineapple tidbits, divided
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise with olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced, divided
  • 3/4 cup dole frozen mango chunks, partially thawed, divided
  • 2 teaspoons roasted ground ginger, divided
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup jicama, julienned
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped cilantro, divided
  • 2 pounds lean ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon roasted ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup island teriyaki sauce, divided
  • 12 Hawaiian sweet dinner rolls
  1. Preheat gas grill with lid down to medium-high heat. Drain pineapple tidbits; reserve 3 tablespoons juice.
  2. Combine mayonnaise, 1/3 cup pineapple tidbits, 1 clove garlic, 1/2 cup mango chunks and 1 teaspoon ground ginger in food processor. Cover; blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Chop finely remaining pineapple tidbits and mangoes; set aside. Stir together 1 cup pineapple tidbits, jicama and 1/2 cup cilantro in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Combine pork, reserved pineapple juice, 1/4 cup pineapple tidbits, remaining mango, roasted ground cumin, red pepper flakes, 1/4 cup teriyaki sauce, 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, remaining garlic, remaining ginger and remaining cilantro until just mixed. Divide mixture into 12 equal portions and shape into patties about 3-1/2-inches wide. Cover; refrigerate until ready to grill.
  5. Brush grill rack with vegetable oil. Place patties on rack, cover; cook 3 to 5 minutes on each side, turning once until pork is fully cooked (145°f). During last few minutes of cooking baste patties equally with remaining teriyaki sauce and place buns, cut side down on outer edges of rack to toast lightly.
  6. Assemble sliders; spread cut sides of buns with equal portions of the ginger pineapple mango mayonnaise. On each bun bottom, place a patty and equal portions of pineapple jicama salsa. Add bun tops and serve!

*Disclaimer – Dole asked me to tell you about this Cook Off, and as I said, I will be attending the event in Los Angeles, courtesy of Dole. I do hope you’ll enter – it’s a FUN event!! All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Spread the love