Look out, comfort food. Things just got a lot tastier thanks to the winners of the 2011 National Culinary Contest at Pizza Inn, Inc. The annual event that invites recipes from Pizza Inn franchise owners and employees is celebrating two new items to the lineup: the Grilled Cheese Pizza and the Buttered Cinnasugar Pizzert.
"Our Pizza Inn team members know our customers so well,” says Charlie Morrison, president and CEO of Pizza Inn. “The Grilled Cheese Pizza and Buttered Cinnasugar Pizzert are proof, once again, that great ideas and delicious recipes can come from the field. Thanks to another incredible Culinary Challenge at Pizza Inn, we look forward to serving these new additions across our network."
The Grilled Cheese Pizza boasts a grilled cheese center on New York crust, a grilled cheese sauce and a generous mix of mozzarella and cheddar. The brainchild of Pizza Inn veteran Debbie Seaton, of Elizabethton, Tennessee, the Grilled Cheese Pizza was born out of simplicity and taste, reminiscent of the grilled cheese sandwiches mom would make.
Inspired by the Culinary Challenge to create the masterpiece, Seaton drew from her 31 years of experience with customers of Pizza Inn. Seaton began her career fresh out of high school as a server at Pizza Inn. After holding every job from host to cook, prep person to shift leader, and now manager for about 15 years, Seaton knew exactly what people would like.
"I wanted to create something simple and delicious, and have fun with it in the process," Seaton says. "Pizzas always have toppings, and I thought—why not something completely different? The grilled cheese pizza was the perfect answer."
With instant access to ingredients to experiment with, she polished the recipe in one go.
Today, Seaton says customers come to the restaurant at 101 Hudson Dr. to request the Grilled Cheese Pizza. The location averages about 40 grilled cheese pizzas a week on the buffet.
The creator of the Buttered Cinnasugar Pizzert also tapped into customer cravings. Perfected at the Pizza Inn at 924 Hwy. 82 West in Greenwood, Mississippi, the delectable Pizzert offers a sweet ending with its layers of sugary cinnamon cookie dough goodness drizzled with icing.
"Our customers love to indulge in the new Buttered Cinnasugar Pizzert," says Bob Singh, who owns the Greenwood restaurant and five other Pizza Inn locations in Mississippi. "It's a wonderful complement to our already popular menu of fresh, traditional and specialty pizzas."
The hit recipes secured the winners a trip to the national Pizza Inn meeting in Tunica, Mississippi, the prestigious title of the 2011 Culinary Challenge, winner and $1,000 in cash.