McCain Foods Announces Titan Chefs and Matchups for Epic Throwdown Live

Four industry titan chefs will face off against esteemed operator chefs showcasing new McCain Mini Mashers potato bites

Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. (May 15, 2023) – Today, McCain Foods, a leading supplier of innovative foodservice frozen appetizer and potato products, is excited to announce the four industry titan chefs who will compete against renowned operator chefs in four themed battles culminating at the EPIC Throwdown LIVE held at the 2023 National Restaurant Association Show May 20-21 in Chicago, Illinois.

The kitchen battles will feature the versatile, award-winning McCain Mini Mashers potato bites in a series of four themed competitions – global appetizer, entrée, comfort food appetizer and out-of-the-box appetizer.

The four competing industry titan chefs whipping up these dishes are:

Chef Sarah Grueneberg

Sarah Grueneberg is the James Beard Award-winning chef/partner of Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio in Chicago’s West Loop and the author of Listen to Your Vegetables. After graduating from culinary school in 2001, Grueneberg started her first career-changing job at the iconic Brennan’s of Houston. By 2002, she was named the restaurant’s youngest female sous chef. In 2005, she joined the team at the award-winning Spiaggia under the leadership of Tony Mantuano. She quickly rose the ranks to chef di cucina in 2008 and then executive chef in 2010. Grueneberg opened Monteverde in November 2015, received the James Beard Award for best chef in the Great Lakes region in 2017 and was a semifinalist for outstanding chef in the 2019 and 2020 James Beard Awards.

Chef Maria Mazon

Chef Maria Mazon has been pushing culinary boundaries for years, introducing people to unique flavors and exotic ingredients. Using flavors of the Sonoran Desert, she has created an experimental take on classic Mexican fare that has earned her local and national accolades. In 2021, Mazon appeared on Season 18 of Bravo TV’s Top Chef and earned the coveted win of the Restaurant Wars challenge. In 2020 and 2022, she became a James Beard Award semifinalist for best chef in the Southwest region.

Chef Damarr Brown

Chef de cuisine Damarr Brown brings his culinary expertise from Roister and mk to Virtue restaurant and Top This Mac N’ Cheese. Brown cooked under chef and owner Erick Williams at nationally acclaimed mk for seven years. Brown spent two years at Roister, The Alinea Group’s hearth-focused concept. He further honed his craft as sous chef under the tutelage of Michelin-starred chef Andrew Brochu. Brown reunited with Williams to open Virtue, where he was named Food & Wine’s best new chef in America. He also was named a finalist in the emerging chef category by the James Beard Foundation for the 2023 James Beard Awards.

Chef Beau MacMillan

Chef Beau MacMillan has cooked in some of America’s most distinguished kitchens. A two-time James Beard Award nominee for best chef in the Southwest region, he hails from Plymouth, Massachusetts, and is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. He is a regular on several of Food Network’s most recognizable shows, including Guy’s Grocery GamesThe Best Thing I Ever Ate and Cooks vs. Cons, and has made multiple appearances on The Today Show. MacMillan served as the executive chef for Sanctuary Camelback Mountain from 2001 through 2021. He is the director of culinary operations for Clive Collective and oversees Cala in Scottsdale, Arizona.

These four industry titan chefs will face off against operator chefs including: Spike Mendelsohn, PLNT Burger (Washington, D.C.); Jen Carroll, Spice Finch (Philadelphia); and Victor Jacinto, Courtside (Vancouver).

The four battles are:

  • Saturday May 20, 10 a.m.: Chef Sarah Grueneberg vs. Chef Jen Carroll
  • Saturday May 20, 1 p.m.: Chef Maria Mazon vs. Chef Victor Jacinto
  • Sunday May 21, 10 a.m.: Chef Damarr Brown vs. Chef Spike Mendelsohn
  • Sunday May 21, 1 p.m.: Chef Beau MacMillan vs. Chef Jen Carroll

National Restaurant Association Show attendees can watch the battles live and then vote on their favorite dish via SMS text. The winning chef will be announced live in person and on social media, as well as showcased on the EPIC Throwdown webpage.

Following the competition, attendees will be able to experience the mouthwatering McCain Foods potato products for themselves. 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 and to watch the live competition in May, visit:,  or check out the McCain Foods social media pages.

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

About McCain Foods (North America)

McCain Foods Limited is a family-owned business founded in 1957 in Florenceville, New Brunswick. Today, the company is the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products and a global leader in appetizers and snacks. Its products can be found in restaurants and retail stores in more than 160 countries. The company has major production, retail and corporate operations across North America. Globally, McCain employs approximately 22,000 people, operates 51 production facilities on six continents, partners with 3,500 farmers and generates annual sales in excess of CDN $11 billion.

Chef Sarah Grueneberg


Chef Maria Mazon
Chef Damarr Brown.
Chef Beau MacMillan.
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