More than 200 chefs recently battled it out for the top billing in Maple Leaf Farms' “Discover Duck” Chef Recipe Contest, but it was Jeremy Smith who ultimately came out on top.

Chef Jeremy Smith of Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel receives his $5,000 first prize in the “Discover Duck” Chef Recipe Contest from Cindy Turk, marketing manager of Maple Leaf Farms.

Open to professional chefs from all foodservice segments and culinary students, this contest challenged entrants across the country to use their culinary creativity to showcase duck in innovative appetizers, salads, soups and entrees.

Dishes were judged on originality, flavor, simplicity (easily sourced ingredients and ease of preparation) and accuracy of the recipe ingredients and method. In the end, Southern Crusted Duck with Wild Bunch Demi earned its creator, Chef Jeremy Smith, $5,000. Lead line cook at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel, Marble, N.C., Smith wooed the judges with his potato-chip/pecan-crusted duck breast served with a mix of cremini, shiitake and oyster mushrooms.

Other winners are as follows: Thomas Tannozzini, executive chef at Acts Retirement Life in Lansdale, Pa., snagged the $3,000 second prize for his Open Faced Tuscan Duck Sandwich; and Duck and Apple Tacos netted $1,500 for third-place winner James Kremer, executive chef of the Country Club of Peoria in Peoria Heights, Ill.

“We were awed by the passion and talent demonstrated by the chefs and their breadth of creative duck preparations,” said Maple Leaf Farms’ marketing manager, Cindy Turk.

To view the “Discover Duck” winning recipes, click here.