UM campus dining chefs earn national recognition

Two chefs with University of Montana Campus Dining recently succeeded on the national culinary stage in separate competitions.

Executive Chef Brian Heddlesten won first place in the 2024 CMS Cost Solutions recipe contest, while Hailey Palmer, executive sous chef of retail dining, brought home a silver medal from the American Culinary Federation.

The two chefs were tested on their talent, style and creativity. Heddlesten won the recipe contest with his chipotle hot chicken and cornbread cheddar waffle recipe. He crafted the innovative dish using ingredients required by the contest’s sponsors: a breaded chicken breast filet and chipotle with adobo spice blend.

Executive Chef Brian Heddlesten and Hailey Palmer, executive sous chef of retail dining, each earned awards in national competitions. 

Ryan Brennecke, University of Montana

“The inspiration for this recipe was a little bit of Nashville hot chicken meets chicken and waffles with Tex-Mex flavor,” Heddlesten said. “I wanted to pull in a few of the components of hot chicken such as cayenne, brown sugar and smoked paprika but still provide a chance for the chipotle flavor to stay at the forefront.”

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