PepsiCo “Game Day Grub Match” Finalists Selected


Winning Team of Students from The Culinary Institute of America to be Crowned at Taste of the NFL’s Annual “Party with a Purpose” on January 31

Media Contacts

Christine Thomas
United Entertainment Group, for PepsiCo

Susan Kricun
Taste of the NFL

Purchase, NY – After a thrilling cook-off, two teams of student chefs from The Culinary Institute of America are one step closer to Super Bowl glory.

PepsiCo today announced that Matthew F. Johnson & Cullen Folks and Marie Taccino & Olivia DeSalvo have advanced to the finals of “Game Day Grub Match,” a unique culinary competition in search of the next great Super Bowl party dish. Each team will now compete in Arizona—the site of Super Bowl XLIX—to determine who will be named the first-ever “Game Day Grub Match” champion.

The winner will be crowned on Saturday, January 31 at Taste of the NFL’s annual “Party with a Purpose.” The winning team will earn tickets to Super Bowl XLIX and receive $5,000 in scholarship money.

Each team incorporated PepsiCo food and beverage products as ingredients to create unique Super Bowl dishes. The finalists are:

  • Matthew F. Johnson from Duluth, MN and Cullen Folks from Atlanta, GA, who created Tostitos Chipotle Chicken Tacos. This dish is served in a grilled flour tortilla with Tostitos Salsa and Pepsi-marinated chicken and sides of a Sabra Guacamole-based salsa verde and Sierra Mist red cabbage slaw.
  • Marie Taccino from Dallas, TX and Olivia DeSalvo from Broomall, PA, who created Naked Chia Cherry Lime Pork Sliders, topped with Pepsi-candied bacon. The dish is served on a homemade Quaker Oats and Fritos biscuit with a side of Muller Tropicana Slaw.

“It has been impressive and inspiring to watch these promising young chefs from The Culinary Institute of America use PepsiCo products to create two amazing dishes. They challenged themselves and used our brands in innovative ways to create great flavors that would be a hit at any Super Bowl party,” said PepsiCo Corporate Executive Research Chef Stephen Kalil. “PepsiCo has played a starring role at Super Bowl parties for generations, and these Game Day Grub Match recipes are going to take football party menus to the next level.”

PepsiCo will allow fans to watch the teams compete and follow their road to the Super Bowl starting January 20 by visiting and by subscribing to PepsiCo’s Twitter channel @PepsiCo, keeping an eye on #GameDayGrubMatch.

The first round of “Game Day Grub Match” took place at The Culinary Institute of America’s Hyde Park, NY campus, where four student teams were given access to a variety of products from PepsiCo’s food and beverage portfolio. They were challenged to incorporate at least three PepsiCo products into a Super Bowl inspired recipe. Food Network star and CIA alum Anne Burrell ’96 hosted the culinary competition. The dishes were evaluated by an all-star judging panel comprised of New York Jets’ Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold, James Beard Award winner and CIA alum David Burke ’82, The Culinary Institute of America’s Senior Director of Food and Beverage Operations Waldy Malouf ’75, and PepsiCo’s Kalil.

As “Game Day Grub Match” finalists, the student teams will sample their culinary creations at various events during Super Bowl week. The two dishes will be tasted and voted on by a distinguished group of professional chefs and NFL athletes participating in this year’s Taste of the NFL “Party with a Purpose,” an annual event that rallies top chefs and NFL players to raise money in support of food banks throughout the U.S. Anne Burrell will announce the winning team during “Party with a Purpose,” and the PepsiCo Foundation will also make a $50,000 donation to Taste of the NFL to support food banks across the country.

PepsiCo also plans to allow its fans to get a piece of the Game Day Grub Match action. Beginning Tuesday, January 20, consumers can submit their own Game Day Grub Match video recipe ideas via Instagram using the #InstaGrubMatch hashtag. PepsiCo will select a winning recipe and award a two-day culinary boot camp at The Culinary Institute of America. More information and instructions on how to participate is available on PepsiCo’s Game Day Grub Match website.

The Super Bowl represents the culmination of a season-long activation for PepsiCo and its brands, which include Pepsi, the sponsor of the Super Bowl Halftime Show; Doritos, which is back this year with its hugely successful "Crash the Super Bowl" contest; Gatorade, which fuels athletes on the field and is a staple of Super Bowl sidelines and locker rooms; Tostitos, which will transform two city blocks in Phoenix into the official party destination of Super Bowl Central; and Quaker, a supporter of Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Football League and the National Dairy Council.

Photo Captions

Photo 1 (top photo): Student team members (L-R) Cullen Folks and Matthew F. Johnson, Mason Aronson and Adam Shoemaker, Ryan Hartwell and Mathew Kilgus, Marie Taccino and Olivia DeSalvo, Chef Anne Burrell, Corporate Executive Research Chef for PepsiCo Stephen Kalil, New York Jets center Nick Mangold, Chef David Burke, and Chef Waly Malouf at the PepsiCo Game Day Grub Match held at The Culinary Institute of America campus on January 11, 2015 in Hyde Park, NY. (Photo credit: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images North America)
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Photo 2: Finalist winners (L-R) Olivia DeSalvo and Marie Taccino at the PepsiCo Game Day Grub Match held at The Culinary Institute of America campus on January 11, 2015 in Hyde Park, NY. (Photo credit: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images North America)
View hi-res image >

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $66 billion in net revenue in 2013, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose—our goal to deliver top-tier financial performance while creating sustainable growth in shareholder value. In practice, Performance with Purpose means providing a wide range of foods and beverages from treats to healthy eats; finding innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment and reduce our operating costs; providing a safe and inclusive workplace for our employees globally; and respecting, supporting and investing in the local communities where we operate. For more information, visit

About The Culinary Institute of America

Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not-for-profit college offering associate and bachelor's degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, culinary science, and applied food studies, as well as certificate programs in culinary arts and wine and beverage studies. As the world's premier culinary college, the CIA provides thought leadership in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, and world cuisines & cultures through research and conferences. The CIA has a network of 47,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, David Burke, Anne Burrell, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Steve Ells, Johnny Iuzzini, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The CIA also offers courses for professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services in support of innovation for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The college has campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore. For more information, visit

About Taste of the NFL

Since 1992, the Taste of the NFL (a 501c3 organization) has rallied the country's top chefs and the NFL's greatest players to raise money in support of food banks throughout the United States. To date, Taste of The NFL’s programs and events have distributed more than $22 million to help feed the 37 million Americans who have turned to their local food banks for assistance. The season long efforts culminate each year with the Taste of the NFL’s
Party with a Purpose®. This year’s star-studded fundraising event brings together exceptional cuisine, prominent chefs from around the country, NFL players, coaches, legends and more, all to support the fight against hunger. For more information, visit

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