Anne Bialeski’s curry chicken salad had always been a favorite dish of her husband, Felix, and her family, but she never knew the dish would earn her national recognition and a chance to win $20,000.
Bialeski, 54, of Mattituck, was named a finalist Wednesday in the Fourth Annual Spreading Smucker’s Traditions Recipe and Essay Contest for her family recipe. The contest requires that recipes entered must incorporate at least ¼ cup of a Smucker’s product.
“You know how when people say ‘That dish is really good?’ Now that I’m one of the finalists, it’s like, ‘Wow, my chicken salad really is that good,’” Bialeski said.
Bialeski heard about the contest last October and decided to enter online for a chance to win.
“I’ve never entered anything like this before,” Bialeski said. “It said the contest was about family traditions, so I thought it would be pretty cool.”
The Mattituck resident got the idea for her recipe after her favorite local deli, Folk Tales, closed in the late 1990s. Bialeski wanted to recreate the deli’s unique chicken salad with her own twist. The recipe includes Smucker’s Apricot Preserves, chicken, curry powder, mayonnaise, grapes, apples and white pepper.
“Whenever my son or other family who live far away come to visit, they call me beforehand to make sure I do the chicken salad,” Bialeski said.
Bialeski is one of five finalists out of hundreds of entries from across the country who will travel to Manhattan to compete for the grand prize of $20,000 toward a family reunion, along with $1,000 for a party planner. The finalists will cook their dishes on March 8 for a panel of celebrity judges yet to be announced.
“I haven’t really let myself think about winning the money because if I thought I could win it I’d be totally disappointed,” Bialeski said. “If I did win I would definitely want to do something with my family because my family means everything to me.”
Bialeski would love to hold a reunion with relatives from all over the country.
“This is all very exciting,” Bialeski said, “and I just think that if I were to win and I could get my family all back together under one roof, [it] would be really special.”
View's Anne Bialeski's recipe and essay here.