Vidalia onions will be the key ingredient in a culinary battle between 12 Georgia chefs at the third annual Golden Onion professional cooking competition.

The event showcases Georgia chefs and the state’s sweet onions at the Vidalia Onion Festival, April 27.

The cook-off is one of many sweet onion-themed events scheduled for the festival, including the Miss Vidalia Onion Pageant, the Vidalia Onion Festival Rodeo and an onion eating contest.

“Golden Onion is an exciting opportunity for chefs across Georgia to show us how creative they can be with our official state vegetable,” said Ingrid Varn, executive director of the Vidalia Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Contestants in the competition must complete a dish featuring Vidalias in one hour. They present dishes to a panel of judges (Chef Holly Chute, executive chef of the Georgia Governor’s Mansion; Bob Stafford, director of the Vidalia Onion Business Council; Hope Philbrick, Atlanta-based freelance writer-editor who conceived of the Golden Onion and two professional chefs to be announced in the future. Hilary White, the first Golden Onion champion, will be a judge, from the kitchen floor.

The winner will receive a trophy and $500. Second place received $250 and third place received $100.

“To have this much talent come into our community and compete using our Vidalia onions as the main ingredient in their dishes is very good for our community and for our industry,” Stafford said.