From the tiny, ultra sweet Seckel to the tall, pronounced Bosc, Northwest pears have long inspired culinary artists. Pear Bureau Northwest is scouring the country and asking culinary professionals--from pastry chefs to short order cooks, sous chefs to bartenders--to share their inspearation by submitting original pear recipes.

Pear Panache is an award-winning chef recognition campaign designed to recognize culinary professionals who demonstrate the most flair with the pear. The top pear recipes and their culinary masterminds will be honored in the fourth annual Pear Panache program.

"With 10 distinct pear varieties grown in the Northwest, offering a multitude of colors, textures and flavors, the recipe possibilities are endless," Kevin Moffitt, president/CEO, Pear Bureau Northwest, said in a press statement. "We look forward to seeing the new ways pears are being used in restaurants, bakeries and bars--we can’t wait to see what the pros come up with this season."

Each year, Pear Bureau Northwest honors seven professionals and their original pear recipes on its Web site, The Web site will showcase a different chef and their recipe every month from September 2009 to March 2010. Winning chefs will be awarded $1,000 and featured in national publicity and media opportunities. Additionally, all professionals who submit a recipe will receive a pear prize package, including a pear slicer and a collection of recipe cards.

To be considered for Pear Panache recognition, visit to complete an online entry form and submit original recipes. All recipe categories--including Appetizer, Salad, Entrée, Dessert and Drink (alcoholic or nonalcoholic)--are encouraged, and there is no limit to the number of recipes that an individual can submit. Recipes will be reviewed to ensure their usability for everyday home chefs, and graded on flavor, originality, use of other seasonal ingredients and visual appeal. Entry deadline is July 31.
National Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation president and CEO Dawn Sweeney issued the following statement regarding the June 9 passing of Norman Brinker, 78, retired chairman of Dallas-based Brinker International:

"Today, the restaurant industry mourns the loss of a true industry icon. Norman Brinker was not only a successful restaurateur and business man, he was a mentor [who] so many industry leaders have looked to throughout their careers for guidance and leadership.

"His first job was as a busboy, and he rose to become one of the most well-known restaurant CEOs in the industry's history. Norman truly embodied the entrepreneurial spirit, and his innovations in casual dining in many ways changed the way America eats out today.

"Norman received many honors and recognition in his life. Among them, he was the recipient of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation prestigious College of Diplomates Award in 1989 and was named the Ambassador of Hospitality in 1999.

"The National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation extends deepest condolences to the Brinker family."

A full obituary on Brinker is available here from the Washington Post.