Imperial Valley Premium Beef announced that chef Erica Holland-Toll was awarded the winner of the People’s Choice award in the Chef Challenge at the beef industry’s National Beef Cook-Off event held September 21 in Sonoma, California. The chef competition was co-sponsored by Imperial Valley Premium Beef, a premium beef program marketed by National Beef Packing Company.

“Congratulations to all the competitors and Chef Holland-Toll,” says Keith Welty, vice president of marketing for National Beef Packing Company. “This was a great event that highlighted the most talented chefs that northern California has to offer.”

Chef Holland-Toll’s winning recipe showcased Imperial Valley pepper-crusted beef ribeye steak with agro-dolce onions. The executive chef of Ducca in San Francisco was proud to have her dish chosen as the crowd favorite at the event.

A California native, Holland-Toll combines her culinary experience with a personal passion for using fresh, local ingredients. “I’m committed to using local produce, meat, and fish whenever possible, so developing a recipe showcasing the fresh ingredients of the Sonoma valley area and using California-grown beef was a natural fit.”

The beef industry’s National Beef Cook-Off event is a competition presented by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, the Federation of State Beef Councils, and the American National Cattlewomen that invites home cooks nationwide and chefs from the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento metropolitan counties to showcase their “Sonoma-Style” by entering their best original beef recipes.

“There is a high demand for locally raised product to which California’s restaurant industry has to respond,” Welty says. “We’re here to support our chef partners and also show them that Imperial Valley is in position to deliver consistent tenderness and premium quality, every time.”

Welty explained that concerns about the impact of transporting food across long distances have made “locally grown” one of the biggest trends to hit the marketplace.