Food Excel Winner Takes Home $30,000 Grand Prize Package

Ryan Abdallah wins first Food Excel competition with pitch for Maroun’s Garlic Paste

On February 22nd, the seven finalists of the Food Xcel competition made their food pitches to a judging panel. The pitch session marked the finale of the 12 week accelerator program created and launched by the Food Island Partnership.  Ryan Abdallah of Cedar’s Eatery walked away from the day with the grand prize of $30,000 in cash and in-kind services to help further the development of  Maroun’s Garlic Paste, a garlic-based product with various uses in the home kitchen.

It will help us push forward to get on store shelves. It will help with research and development of new products too,” said Abdallah.  The garlic paste has been a staple in many of Cedar’s Eatery’s menu items since 1979. After noticing customers were ordering it to take home, Abdallah began exploring opportunities to develop the product for home use and named it after his father, the founder of Cedar’s Eatery.  

The other food entrepreneur finalists were: Verena Varga and Amy Smith of Heart Beet Organics; Julain Molnar of Fresh Start Fauxmage, Marc Bastarache of Spud Venture, Sarah Bennetto O-Brien of The Handpie Co., Jordan Liantzakis of PEI Charcuterie, and Gabriel Mercier and Deidre Doiron of Isle St. Jean Farm.

About Shannon Courtney

Shannon oversees all content creation for Salty and may be ‘slightly’ obsessed with proper apostrophe usage. When she’s not writing about food, she’s either cooking, eating, talking, or thinking about it. Her food adventures have included milking a Jersey cow in Australia, almost overdosing on maple syrup in Prince Edward County, and studying local food systems in Vermont as part of her Master’s thesis research. Shannon is also a holistic-nutritionist-in-training and strongly believes you CAN make friends with salad.

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