And The Secret Ingredient is….

Students from the School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality at Stratford University’s Richmond campus got a taste of what it would be like to be on Iron Chef earlier this month when they went head to head in a recipe competition surrounding one local ingredient: Keep It Simple Syrup®.

6 finalists presented their dishes to a 5-judge panel and winners received a Visa® gift cards and an opportunity to appear next week on WTVR Channel 6’s Virginia This Morning, hosted by Executive Producer Jessica Noll.

How about these for mouth-watering?

Winners in the Savory Dishes category are:
·         1st place, Chelsea Barrett: Spearmint-Glazed Corned Beef
·         2nd place, Michelle Rateau: Red Quinoa with Minted Goat Cheese and Toasted Pine Nuts served in Spearmint-Marinated Portobello Mushrooms
·         3rd place, Darling Saunders: Apple-Kissed Pork Tenderloin

Winners in the Sweet Dishes are:
·         1st place, Michelle Rateau: Cucumber-Lemon Kissed Spa Refresher
·         2nd place, Mark Boggs: Raspberry Mojito Kissed Pound Cake
·         3rd place, Stephen Haynes: White Chocolate Spearmint Scones

Found in the mixer section of the ABC store, Keep It Simple Syrup®, is an all natural, locally made simple syrup infused with mint leaves, and it’s taking off as an easy way to add a refreshing taste not just to a mint julep or mojitos but savory dishes as well.

Sooooo… We couldn’t resist snagging that Cucumber-Lemon Kissed Spa Refresher recipe, which we’re posting below.

You can get all the recipes by clicking here.

Here is the recipe that took 1st place in the “Sweet” category, Michelle Rateau’s “Cucumber-Lemon Kissed Spa Refresher”
(A fit and refreshing drink!)

  • 3-4 slices cucumber
  • 4 teaspoons Spearmint Keep It Simple Syrup®
  • 3 mint leaves
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 6-8 ounces Club soda (or sodium free)


In a glass, muddle the cucumber slices lightly with the Kiss®, mint and lemon.
Stir in the club soda.
Garnish with fresh mint leaf, and cucumber or lemon slice.
Sip, and enjoy!