As Chicago hosts the 25th anniversary of the James Beard Foundation Awards gala in May honoring the best in the culinary industry, Hannah’s Bretzel will celebrate its 10-year anniversary and recognize the next generation of talented chefs in Chicago. This spring, Hannah’s Bretzel is launching its First Annual Emerging Chefs Challenge, inviting Chicago culinary students to create the next über sandwich. Finalists will face off in a sandwich making competition judged by a panel of Chicago’s top chefs and culinary leaders to compete for a coveted spot on the Hannah’s Bretzel menu and win a $1,000 scholarship.

“Inspiring a healthy lifestyle is not just limited to what we offer on our menu,” says Hannah’s Bretzel founder Florian Pfahler. “We have a bigger responsibility and are firmly committed to supporting Chicago’s culinary community and empowering its next generation of leaders.

Hannah’s Bretzel kicks off the Emerging Chefs Challenge this month, inviting students from Kendall College and Le Cordon Bleu to submit their inspiration for the next über sandwich. The top six finalists, including three finalists from each school, will compete in the Emerging Chefs judging event on Monday, May 11, 2015 at Kendall College where they will present their sandwich and vision on how they will impact the future food community to the following panel of notable chefs and judge: Beverly Kim, owner and chef at Parachute and James Beard Award nominee for Best New Restaurant; Erling Wu-Bower, chef de cuisine at Nico Osteria and James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef (Great Lakes), Mark Steuer, chef and partner of Viva La Rev and former executive chef at Carriage House, Kimberly Galban, partner at One Off Hospitality Group; and

Florian Pfahler, owner and founder of Hannah’s Bretzel.

Hannah’s Bretzel is also encouraging its biggest fans to take part in judging the competition and will invite fans to cast their vote online from May 4–11 at for the sandwich they’d like to see on the Hannah’s Bretzel menu. Votes will be included in the final judging round to select the Emerging Chefs winner. The winner will receive a $1,000 culinary scholarship and the runner-up will be awarded a $500 scholarship. The four remaining finalists will receive a $125 scholarship.

The winning sandwich will debut on the menu at all Hannah’s Bretzel locations in the summer of 2015. In conjunction with its 10-year anniversary, Hannah’s Bretzel will donate 10 percent of sales of the winning sandwich to two charities of choice selected by the finalists at each school. Finalists from both schools will select one charity and each will receive 50 percent of proceeds.

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