(UPDATED COVERAGE, March 6) Chefs will face off April 14 for Vidalia’s second-annual Golden Onion professional cooking competition.

The competition, which challenges 12 Georgia chefs to create and prepare recipes featuring Vidalia onions, kicks off the 36th annual Vidalia Onion Festival.

The chefs have an hour to prepare and present their recipes. First place receives $500 and a trophy.

Five judges score the competition on the basis of taste (50%), creativity (15%), overall use of Vidalia onions (15%), visual presentation (10%), chef’s verbal presentation (5%) and following the recipe submitted during the application process (5%).

The judges are:

  • Holly Chute, chef at the Georgia governor’s mansion;
  • Hilary White, chef and owner of Palmetto, Ga., restaurant The Hil;
  • Ahmad Nourzad, executive chef at Affairs to Remember Caterers, Atlanta;
  • Bob Stafford, director of the Vidalia Onion Business Council; and
  • Hope Philbrick, Atlanta-based freelance writer and editor who initiated the competition.

Chefs competing in the cook-off are:

  • Mimmo Alboumeh, owner and executive chef of ME Restaurant Group;


  • Daniel Chance, executive chef of Campogonolo, Atlanta;


  • Linda Harrell, executive chef and partner of Cibo E Beve, Sandy Springs;
  • Brian Jones, chef de cuisine for Atlanta Grill at The Ritz-Carlton;
  • Brian Justice, chef and owner of Tasteful Temptations Cafe, Brunswick;


  • Mark Lane, executive chef of Elements Bistro & Grill, Lyons;
  • Roberto Leoci, chef and owner of Leoci’s Trattoria, Savannah;
  • Keira Moritz, chef and owner of Steel Magnolias, Valdosta;
  • Austin Rocconi, executive chef for Le Vigne Restaurant at Montaluce, Dahlonega;
  • Michael Shutters, executive chef and foodservice director at the Pilot House Grille Restaurant (George T. Bagby State Park and Lodge), Fort Gaines;


  • Dave Snyder, chef and owner of Halyards and Tramici at St. Simons Island,;
  • Marc Taft, chef and owner of Chicken & the Egg, Marietta, and executive chef and general manager of the new The Mill Kitchen & Bar in Roswel.