Salad WarsAs Jason Vanderstelt started putting some of his favorite salad ingredients together, an obvious theme began to reveal itself. With the help of one of his competitors and the creative juices that flow from collaborating, the “Lettuce Give Thanks” salad was born.
Vanderstelt created the new salad, now available at The Big Salad located inside NOURISH at AL!VE, as part of Salad Wars, the inaugural competition that helps raise money for local charities. Vanderstelt was crowned Salad Wars champion this past week as his creation generated more sales than his competitors — Eric and Maureen McGill’s Paleo Pleaser; Brian Lautzenheiser’s Mediterranean Muscle; and Barbara Fulton’s Dare to Discover.
“I just started putting together things I like in a salad,” Vanderstelt said, “cranberries, walnuts, some turkey.”
He said he was going to use deli-style turkey until Maureen McGill suggested a turkey sandwich mixture similar to chicken salad. That ingredient may have put Vanderstelt over the top. Vanderstelt, who works in marketing for Adams Outdoor, said the clever name didn’t hurt.
“I knew I wanted to use lettuce as a double entendre,” he said. “Then Patrick (Sustrich) jumped in with thinking about the time of year … Lettuce Give Thanks was perfect.”
As winner, Vanderstelt was able to choose SIREN Eaton Shelter as the recipient of a $200 donation generated through the competition.
“Women are a very important part of my life, obviously having four daughters,” he said. “There is so much that you see and don’t see SIREN doing for the community.”
Jessica Edel, SIREN director, said the money comes at an important time for the shelter after it recently received word one of its federal grants was being cut.
“We rely on community support for a good portion of our annual budget,” Edel said. “That support helps us provide services to about 2,000 people annually.”
AL!VE’s Christina Campbell said local charities such as SIREN were the driving force behind the competition she hopes will become an annual event. She said the winning salad — Lettuce Give Thanks — will remain on The Big Salad menu for the rest of the calendar year.