California Milk Advisory Board Announces Cal-Mex Invitational Foodservice Competition

The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) announced a new culinary competition for food service 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, said the CMAB in a press release.

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. 

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“Culinary competitions like the Cal-Mex Invitational create an opportunity to work with and recognize chefs who are using California cheese and dairy products 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 a $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.