Funky Foodie Cook-Off Drives Innovation for Georgia Pecans

Last month, the Georgia Pecan Commission’s Center for Pecan Innovation joined forces with a group of three food bloggers for the brand’s first #NutWar, a bake-off with a funky handle that pushed innovation among some already innovative foodies.

The three bloggers from PushPlayEat – New York-based Dominick Costa, Surprise, Arizona-based Stephanie Daigneault and Washington, D.C.-based Lisa Comento – were each given different sizes of Georgia pecans and asked to develop a recipe that then would be shared during a Twitter party-style reveal dubbed the #NutWar on the Center’s Twitter site, @georgiapecans.

The music-loving foodies, who live hundreds of miles apart, met online earlier this year and, through their shared love of food and music, developed the idea for their website

A month before the Twitter event, the bloggers all were sent samples of Georgia pecans. Dominick chose pecan midgets, Stephanie chose pecan nuggets, and Lisa chose pecan meal. Pecan meal is a less-known item and the perfect substitute for flour. “Pecan meal is ideal for use as a coating for savory dishes or proteins like fish or chicken, and the consistency is substantial enough to be used as a pie crust or pie topping,” Lisa says.

The recipes were rolled out like a virtual cooking show. Each blogger made their dishes prior to the #NutWar, taking photos of their process and ingredients used. The delicious results were revealed over the course of the hour little by little until the big ending, when the judges at the Center for Pecan Innovation crowned a winner.

Stephanie made homey Pecan Huckleberry Bars.

steph nutwar

Lisa developed a gorgeous Lemon Raspberry Tart with pecan meal crust.

lisa nutwar

And Dominick baked a rich-looking Upside Down Pineapple Pecan Pie.

dominick nutwar

Award-winning cookbook author Amy Riolo, along with wine blogger Suzie Linville, joined Chef Gervais and other foodies to comment on the contestants’ photos and recipes, as well as answer our nutty questions.

In the end, Dominick’s Upside Down Pineapple Pecan Pie emerged as the first #NutWar winner.

According to Lisa, “Creating a new recipe was nothing new to the #PushPlayEat team, but having the opportunity to use such a healthy ingredient as pecans and help promote Georgia Pecans’ Center for Pecan Innovation was an honor. We love to help spread healthy eating ideas.

Plans for a second #NutWar are in the works. Stay tuned for more details on Twitter at @georgiapecans or @NutWars.