As Chris and Natalie Lewis made plans for their fifth wedding anniversary on Friday, they found they had another reason to celebrate. One of their original sandwich creations was named the winner of the Foster Farms 'Don't Call Me Basic' turkey sandwich contest.
The Lewis' Thai Turkey sandwich — featuring Foster Farms All Natural Sliced Turkey, sriracha mayonnaise, tomato, avocado, lettuce, Thai peanut sauce, cilantro and red bell pepper — beat out more than 200 entries from across the country. The Turlock couple won the grand prize of $4,000 cash.
It was a tight race between the Lewis' and four other finalists whose recipes were judged by five food and lifestyle bloggers. Finalists included: Jennifer Daskevich (Los Angeles) and her Mediterranean Inspired Turkey Sandwich; Lidia Haddadian (Los Angeles) and her Tangy Smokehouse Turkey Sandwich; Monica King (Vancouver, Washington) and her Turkey, Apricot and Thyme Goat Cheese on Toasted Ciabatta; and Susie Reedy (Oregon) and her Foster Farms All-Natural Turkey Bánh Mì.
Sandwich entries were evaluated by a panel of culinary and food industry professionals on the basis of sandwich appearance, appeal, simplicity/ease of preparation and originality.
“This sandwich is heaven on earth," said contest judge and blogger Kim Demmon of Today’s Creative Life about the Lewis' Thai Turkey. "The perfect blend of my favorite cuisine with the traditional turkey sandwich makes this sandwich a welcome surprise. The peanut sauce drizzled on the turkey with the unexpected zing of sriracha mayo only adds more depth.”
Finding the perfect combination of ingredients that makes an everyday sandwich extraordinary is nothing new to the Lewis'.
While some couples enjoy spending time together in the outdoors through hiking or biking, or browsing in antique shops, when the Lewis' want to have fun they make sandwiches.
"Making sandwiches is our weekend fun as a married couple," said Natalie.
The Lewis' created the Thai Turkey sandwich especially for the contest, but it is not their only original recipe. Almost every weekend they experiment by "throwing stuff together and tasting it," said Chris. The couple also include their sons in the culinary fun, Owen, 10, and Jaxson, 2.
"Owen likes to try our sandwiches. One time we made a spaghetti sandwich and he thought that was the best sandwich ever because it combined spaghetti and sandwiches," said Natalie.
They keep track of all their creations in an idea folder, rather than a recipe book.
"My wife and I have a dream of opening a sandwich shop one day," said Chris, who works for the City of Modesto.
To check out some of the 'Don't Call Me Basic' sandwich contest creations, visit: http://bit.ly/1WSXjhg