Cacique USA

February 10, 2011 13:00 ET

Oklahoma Woman Wins Cacique Go Autentico Cook-Off Challenge

Leah Lyon Succeeded Against 400 Entries; Contest Judged by Celebrity Chef Aaron Sanchez

INDUSTRY, CA--(Marketwire - February 10, 2011) - When Leah Lyon of Ada, Oklahoma heard of a competition using authentic Hispanic ingredients, she submitted her recipe for a homemade Latin-inspired shrimp dish. It's a favorite among family and friends and she was confident it would hold up against the competition. It did. In the Go Autentico challenge sponsored by Cacique, the largest Hispanic cheese brand in the US, and judged by Celebrity Chef and Food Network personality Aaron Sanchez, Lyon blew the competition away with her Shrimp Rajas al Carbon Panela Tostaditos recipe featuring Cacique's authentic Panela cheese and Crema Mexicana Agria.

"I love using Cacique's products because they help me keep my dishes real and authentic," said Lyon. "I discovered Cacique products in my local grocery store and they've made a whole lot of difference in my dishes ever since I started using them. I'm proud my recipe is considered one of the best by a renowned chef."

Lyon won an all-expense paid trip for two to Napa Valley, California and a five-day culinary boot camp at The Culinary Institute of America. She triumphed over 400 entries and the contest culminated in a cook-off at Chef Aarón Sánchez's restaurant, Centrico, in New York, where she competed against three other finalists. A panel of judges that included Chef Aarón Sánchez himself along with his mother, celebrated Mexican cooking authority Zarela Martinez, Master Chef Brad Barnes from The Culinary Institute of America and Gil de Cárdenas, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Cacique critiqued each contestant's dish based on taste, effective use of Cacique products, presentation and recipe creativity.

"To achieve authentic Hispanic flavors, you have to start with the best ingredients and not substitute quality," said Celebrity Chef Aarón Sánchez. "The finalists did just that and their recipes shined."

A video that aired on the Food Channel featuring Lyon's winning and unique Latin-inspired dish can be viewed on Cacique's website To enter the contest, home cooks and foodies like Lyon gave their own creative spin on a Latin-inspired dish using Cacique's line of authentic ingredients, such as all-natural Cacique Queso Fresco, Queso Quesadilla, creamy, smooth Crema Mexicana or zesty Chorizo. The contest ran from Sept. 16, 2010 to Nov. 15, 2010. Videos of the other finalists who participated in the Go Auténtico Cook-off can also be seen on the Cacique website. They included:

  • Stella Ortega of South Lake Tahoe, California for her Chicken a la Diabla recipe using Cacique Chorizo and Queso Fresco 
  • Helena Giesea of Monte Rio, California for her Cactus Frittata recipe using Cacique Cotija and Panela cheeses
  • Susan Ten Pas of Myrtle Creek, Oregon for her Roast Squash and Pear Soup with Chorizo Meatballs using Cacique Chorizo, Crema Mexicana and Crema Mexicana Agria

"We are thrilled at the amount of entries we received and the caliber of the recipes," says Gil de Cárdenas, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Cacique. "It was a hard decision for the judges and we congratulate everyone who participated to make this competition a success."

To learn more about Cacique and its family of products and Chef Aarón Sánchez's Cacique-inspired recipes, visit Cacique products are available at leading national retailers such as Kroger, Safeway, WalMart and HEB and Hispanic specialty retailers such as Fiesta, Food 4 Less, Northgate, Mi Pueblo, Pete's Fine Foods, Sedanos, Superior Warehouse and Vallarta. For news updates, information and special offers, follow the Cacique on Twitter @Cacique_USA and become a fan at Facebook at

About Cacique
For nearly four decades, authenticity, integrity, family pride and tradition have made Cacique the largest Hispanic cheese brand in the U.S. Cacique has combined old-world traditions with new world technologies proudly creating the Cacique family of products, which includes fresh and aged traditional cheeses, creams, chorizos and beverages to provide customers with high quality, authentic products made with traditional ingredients they have come to know and enjoy. For more information about Cacique's authentic line of natural Hispanic products, please visit or call (800) 521-6987 or (626) 937-3505.

About Chef Aarón Sánchez
Aarón Sánchez is the co-star of Food Network's exciting new series, Chefs vs. City, and is the owner and executive chef of restaurants Centrico and Tacombi, both located in New York City. The son of celebrated Mexican cooking authority Zarela Martinez, Aarón's passion, commitment and skills have placed him among the country's leading contemporary Latin Chefs.