Real California Cheese & Mac Challenge

The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) launched foodservice contest challenging professional chefs and culinary students to develop creative Cheese & Mac dishes using Real California cheese and dairy products. The “Real California Cheese & Mac Challenge” is a search

The CMAB is promoting this online recipe contest to capture the ongoing popularity of Cheese & Mac (aka Mac & Cheese) dishes in foodservice. This traditional dairy-centric dish continues to be a platform for showcasing culinary trends and remains a menu standard for all dayparts. 

The Real California Cheese & Mac Challenge is open to professional chefs and culinary students in the U.S., offering the opportunity to submit creative recipes online to showcase the use of cheeses made in California for a chance to win up to $5,000. Prominent foodservice judges will select six winning recipes for sensory evaluation to determine the ultimate grand prize winner. 

Each chef finalist will receive $2,000, with the winning dish receiving an additional $3,000 for a total of $5,000 awarded to the Real California Cheese & Mac Challenge Champion.

“This recipe contest is part of our continued efforts to partner with chefs and the next generation of culinary professionals to showcase the versatility and performance of California dairy products as key foodservice ingredients,” said Mike Gallagher, Business and Market Development Consultant for the CMAB. “California cheeses and dairy products are central to culinary innovation. The Real California Cheese & Mac Challenge will serve to reinforce chefs’ awareness of the endless varieties and styles of real cheeses and dairy ingredients from California, that are made with milk from family farms using the most sustainable farming practices in the U.S.” 

The entry period for submitting recipes is May 1-June 15, 2023. The six winning Cheese & Mac recipes will be announced in July with the grand prize announcement on August 31, 2023. For more information, including entry details, visit

California is the leading producer of fluid milk, butter, and ice cream as well as Mozzarella, Hispanic-style cheese and dairy, and Monterey Jack. California milk and dairy foods can be identified by the Real California Milk seal, which certifies they are made exclusively with sustainably sourced milk from the state’s dairy farm families.