The ballots are in and FOUR lucky Texas entrepreneurs have been chosen as H-E-B’s Primo Picks Quest for Texas Best winners! Thanks to my friend’s at KEYE CBS Austin. Press play or watch the full segment here.Everyone who knows H-E-B understands the immense positive contributions the grocery giant makes to our communities. Remember their amazing response and relief efforts when Hurricane Harvey hit? Heroic is no understatement! It’s certainly no exaggeration to say H-E-B changes lives all the time… they truly make a difference.Recently, I had the opportunity to witness another example of this benevolent behemoth’s amazing gift of transforming lives. I had the honor, the privilege to serve as one of seven judges for the company’s Quest for the Best of Texas competition, a statewide contest offering a chance for dreamers, entrepreneurs and creative geniuses to win a combined $70,000 in cash prizes and the ultimate ‘get’ – a coveted spot to sell their products on H-E-B’s grocery shelves. In celebration of the fifth anniversary of the contest, the Grand Prize winner is also taking home keys to a brand-new Toyota Tundra!More than 700 hopefuls entered this year’s contest. Twenty-five made the finals, and our task was to judge those distinguished 25 finalists. To set the scene, picture Shark Tank. Each contestant had 20 minutes to tell us their story, share their dreams and in so many cases, their unbelievable heartbreaks that inspired them to think big and try harder. The presentations were over the top.Through tons of laughter and plenty of tears, we listened to their stories and yes, tasted their products. In my mind, they are ALL winners. My guess is most of them will land a spot on those valued grocery shelves regardless of how we ranked them in the competition. But either way, H-E-B’s magnanimous generosity boosted their dreams, enriched their lives and put their creations in a very big spotlight. If it weren’t for H-E-B’s genius competition, many of these folks might have given up. Now, generations will potentially feel the impact of this big-hearted company.
Grand Prize Winner : Kristen & Cody Fields; Mmmpanadas – Austin, TX
Starting out as an Austin food truck soon you can pick up Mmmpanadas at your local H-E-B! Conveniently wrapped in individual servings for an on-to-go breakfast or quick snack try out the delicious Green Chile Chicken or Cheese Burger — my personal favorite.
First Place Winner : Reynold Darthard; Chef Rey Inc. – Sugar Land, TX
Personal Chef to the Houston Rockets, Reynold Darthard knows how to cook! His cheesecakes, made in mini and 9″ rounds, are a perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth with decadent varieties like Strawberry Swirl, Cookies and Creams and Sweet Potato. His food speaks for its self.
Second Place Winner : Lucienne Duforets; Bellefontaine – Houston, TX
Inspired from their French roots this French Ice Cream Company, Bellefontaine, is churning out creamy flavors Rose, Pure Pistachio, and Fresh Mint! They even make guiltless versions of sorbets that are dairy-free, gluten-free, and/or fat-free.
Third Place Winner: Tiffani Diorio; Pennymade – Austin, TX
Pennymade is about to change your breakfast game. Pop these guys in your oven for just 15 minutes for an easy healthy meal or side. They make flaky classics like Original Buttermilk and a savory Tex-Mex twist like Hatch Chile Cheese that’ll satisfy your harshest critic, your kids!
A key reason these winners stood out amongst the hundreds of entrants was that of the transparency in their ingredients that were geared towards a healthier lifestyle. Those ideals within the winners align with H-E-B’s values to bring the freshest local ingredients to Texans. You’ll be able to find most of the products mentioned above at your local H-E-B in the near future.