McCain Foods Announces One-of-a-Kind Culinary Competition

Four operator chefs to participate in an EPIC Throwdown featuring versatile new product McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites

Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. (April 24, 2023) — Today, McCain Foods, a leading supplier of innovative foodservice frozen appetizer and potato products, is announcing a one-of-a-kind culinary competition challenging four chefs from across North America to an EPIC Throwdown culminating at the 2023 National Restaurant Association Show in May.

Beginning this week, four operator chefs will battle each week to create mouthwatering menu concepts featuring the award-winning McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites, a recently launched potato shareable.

“Innovation inspires everything McCain does – from research to new product development to marketing. This dedication to innovation ensures that every product developed is the result of new thinking, invention and improvement,” said Tracy Hostetler, VP, head of North American Potato Marketing at McCain Foods. “The goal of this competition is to show off the product’s versatility and demonstrate the wide array of culinary creations that can be brought to life using the same signature product.”

For four consecutive weeks, three highly experienced judges will select one chef’s dish featuring McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites to win that week’s themed battle. With a crispy outside and a delectable creamy inside, these bite-sized products are a versatile potato option for restaurant operators. The variety of applications will showcase the customizability of the product and how operators can serve McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites as apps or entrees. The four themes are:

  • Week 1 – Global appetizer
  • Week 2 – Entrée
  • Week 3 – Comfort food appetizer
  • Week 4 – Out-of-the-box appetizer

The chefs with the winning concepts from each week will compete in a final EPIC Throwdown during the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago.

The chef competitors are:

  • Brian Jupiter, Frontier – Chicago, Illinois
  • Spike Mendelsohn, PLNT Burger – Washington, D.C.
  • Jen Carroll, Spice Finch – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Victor Jacinto, Courtside – Vancouver, Canada

Chef Brian Jupiter
From the man behind the epic meals at Frontier, we’re proud to have “Chef Jup” here on the culinary battlefield. Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, executive chef Brian Jupiter has always believed that Southern comfort food is a true art form. His inspiration comes from closely held family secrets and recipes that he learned from cooking alongside his grandmother.

Chef Spike Mendelsohn
Chef Spike Mendelsohn is a true renaissance man and is ready for the EPIC Throwdown. Chef Spike is the chairman of the DC Food Policy Council and co-founder and culinary director of PLNT Burger. He trained under some of the most prestigious chefs and restaurateurs before diving into the world of fast casual and founding several successful restaurant concepts. Chef Spike uses his expertise to consult with and develop brands across various industries.

Chef Jen Carroll
From iconic TV moments to cooking in the best restaurants, chef Jen Carroll is a true culinary competitor.  Chef Carroll opened Spice Finch as the executive chef, where she combined her expertise in French technique from nine years at Le Bernardin and 10 years at Arts Bistro & Lounge under chef Eric Ripert with the skills learned working with chef Marcus Samuelsson at Red Rooster, where she honed in on elevated comfort food coupled with down-to-earth hospitality.

Chef Victor Jacinto
Food. Basketball. Sneakers. Those are the three main things chef Victor Jacinto is passionate about, which makes sense since he’s the head chef at Courtside Food & Drinks in Vancouver, Canada. Courtside is where basketball and food fans can eat elevated stadium food with freshly made sauces and house-made pickles. Now that’s a slam dunk! Chef Victor started his culinary training at Vancouver Community College and then spent his time cooking at the top restaurants in Vancouver. We can’t wait to see what he creates in our culinary competition.

McCain Mini Mashers potato bites may be small, but they’re a pretty big deal for restaurant operators, which is why the National Restaurant Association Show is the perfect place to host the final EPIC Throwdown showdown,” said chef Mark Slutzky, director of Culinary at McCain Foods. “Customizable with minimal prep, they provide a canvas for culinary creativity, streamline back-of-house prep and make it easy for restaurant operators to create signature dishes that keep their customers coming back for more.”

McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites are endlessly customizable, work across the menu, and can cook in under three and a half minutes, depending on oven type, making them perfect for a fast-paced food competition.

For more information about the EPIC Throwdown, visit: or

To access more details for McCain Mini Mashers™ potato bites, click here.

About McCain Foods
McCain Foods brings enjoyment to people’s lives through great-tasting food. Driven by strong values, including family, authentic, committed, trusted, be good and do good, McCain Foods is a family company with six decades of culinary knowledge. It aims to be the world leader in prepared potato and appetizers, admired for its quality, people and customer dedication. It works to produce and market the best and most innovative prepared potato and appetizer products to its consumers and customers in the retail, foodservice and quick-service restaurant sectors. McCain Foods builds on a rich history of menu planning and flavor pairings and is committed to innovative ideas that are practical for restaurant operators.


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