A local chef has crafted a unique, award-winning recipe–concocted mostly with General Mills products–for a good cause.

Nick Shipp, head chef of Santa Monica’s New American restaurant Upper West, is the 2019 West Region Winner in General Mills’ Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest. The contest tasked mom and pop restaurants with submitting an original recipe using General Foods ingredients.

Regional winners of the contest win $5,000 as well as $1,000 to go to a local charity while grand prize winners receive $10,000 in cash and $2,000 for charity.  Grand Prize winners will also receive a three-day trip for two to the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival this October. Additionally, Shipp can win an additional $1,000 for his charity when the contest opens up social media voting August 12 -16.

General Mills representatives will visit Upper West on August 14 to showcase the restaurant and award Shipp with a special check presentation and celebratory event that Santa Monicans are urged to attend.

Shipp was a West Region Winner last year with his recipe of a mushroom tart flatbread with tomato jam, goat cheese and fresh oregano on a Pillsbury’s Best Puff Pastry Dough.

“I heard about it last year through a food blogger,” Shipp said. “Last year, the whole thing was crazy. I put the recipe in last minute and won it and thought, holy cow. So, I figured I’d give it another shot.”

This year, the Upper West Chef plans on winning the grand prize with his lamb chili bolognese with macaroni and whipped goat cheese recipe, which uses General Mills’ Mountain High Yogurt-goat cheese.

“It’s kind of like a Texas-style chili tossed with macaroni,” Shipp said. “I tested this one out. It was a dish we were working on and doing events with. It started off as a veggie bolognese, then a goat leg bolognese and kind of kept evolving from there.”

Customer feedback led to the changes in the recipe Shipp mentioned and customers will always be the crowd he wants to please. When he entered this contest, however, Shipp was enamored with the good this contest would bring, both for his family and for charity.

Shipp downplays any money he won or will potentially win, saying he’d invest in his kids or go on vacation with the money. When he mentions charity, however, he lights up. He chose St. Jude Research Hospital as his charity of choice in the contest for personal reasons.

“It’s a charity close to me,” he said, noting he now works for the organization as a culinary advisor. “I have two young kids, 7 and 9, and I’ve had cancer twice and survived it. Knowing how scary it was for me, for my family, I can’t imagine a parent going through that or a kid going through that. St. Jude is interesting; There are no bills, nothing. If you go there, you get treatment and don’t get a single medical bill. You get the best treatment there is. They share their research with people. They’re about the cure, not about the money.”

As for his chances of winning the grand prize and bringing more money to St. Jude’s, Shipp is hopeful.

“We’ve been developing this at the restaurant and I knew it was great,” Shipp said. “Typically in this contest you see a lot of sweet stuff, that’s what you think of when you think General Mills; cake mix, cereal, stuff like that. After feedback and sifting through ingredients we could use, we got our dish. I think it’s a winner.”

To celebrate with Shipp and Upper West, visit Upper West on Wednesday, August 14 at 5 p.m.

at 3321 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90404. Guests will be treated to samples of Shipp’s award-winning recipe and see Shipp be awarded a check to him and a check to St. Jude’s.


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