Book’s sandwich tops contest

Crystal Schlueter of Northglenn wins $30,000 in prize money

Posted 11/9/16

Participating in cooking contests is a deep passion for Crystal Schlueter, of Northglenn, who recently took home top honors in America’s Better Sandwich contest. The national competition is sponsored by Oroweat and included more than 2,900 entries …

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Book’s sandwich tops contest

Crystal Schlueter of Northglenn wins $30,000 in prize money

Posted

Participating in cooking contests is a deep passion for Crystal Schlueter, of Northglenn, who recently took home top honors in America’s Better Sandwich contest. The national competition is sponsored by Oroweat and included more than 2,900 entries this year.

“It’s pretty cool. Thirty grand for my 30th year,” said Schlueter, who turned 30 in June.

Schlueter’s Moroccan rainbow carrot sandwich with spicy orange dressing was voted best by judges in the Open Face Artistry category, which garnered $5,000, and was also named the grand-prize winner, which brought home another $25,000.

The open-face sandwich sits on top of Oroweat nut bread, containing a combination of oats, hazelnuts and walnuts, which gets toasted and topped with roasted garlic hummus. Next comes a rainbow carrot arugula salad, which includes orange marmalade and harissa dressing. The sandwich also contains pistachios, feta cheese, lemon juice and spices. Schlueter says the sandwich comes together simply and encourages people to make it at home.

“What I’ve found is that most cooking contests look for something that’s easy to make,” she said. “You can make this sandwich in five minutes.”

Schlueter said she considered acidity, sweetness, saltiness and crunch when concocting the sandwich. Her well-thought-out recipe is no surprise, considering she enters contests like this frequently.

“I was at a point in my life where I was like, ‘What do I do with myself now?’” said Schlueter, an Iraq war veteran, who was looking for direction after finishing her time in the Navy. She said the cooking contests were exactly what she was looking for. “It’s a great creative outlet. I love it. It’s my passion.”

Schlueter found inspiration for her recipes while serving in the Middle East from 2007 to 2009, where she was exposed to much foreign fare. She visited spice markets and fell in love with a Moroccan restaurant in Dubai. Now, she uses her diverse palette to come up with tasty creations.

Schlueter visits the website www.cookingcontestcentral.com daily, where she finds links to contests. She has been published in dozens of times in Taste of Home magazine, as well as the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

She said she plans on using the prize money to buy a new vehicle and hopes to travel to her home state of Minnesota soon to meet her new nephew. She also hopes to release a cook book and start a food blog in the near future.

Beyond that, the sky is the limit for Schlueter.

“I would love to have something on a menu somewhere,” she said. “Long term, I’d love to open a restaurant or a bakery.

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