T.G.I. Friday's(R) Restaurants Feature 'Ultimate' Pasta Salad

Real Recipes from Real Home Cooks Inspire Five New Ultimate Dishes Only Available at Friday's® Restaurants

CARROLLTON, Texas, March 17 // PRNewswire // -- After a nationwide contest to determine the Ultimate Pasta Recipe, an entree inspired by Elizabeth Morath, a 45-year-old insurance specialist from Amherst, New York, will be featured at over 600 US T.G.I. Friday's® restaurants beginning today.

Morath's recipe was judged to be the best of the best on Food Network's "Ultimate Recipe Showdown," a six-week series featuring America's greatest home cooks battling head-to-head for $25,000, culinary supremacy and a spot on T.G.I. Friday's menu.

"This is a perfectly fresh, chilled pasta salad and the warm, crispy eggplant will blow your taste buds away," said Scott Randolph, senior director of culinary, R&D for T.G.I. Friday's. "It's the ultimate blend of crispy, tangy and fresh."

Randolph and his R&D team were challenged to transition Morath's "Summer Eggplant Salad" into a dish that would fit a strategic need for the Friday's menu without sacrificing the spirit and flavors of the original recipe.

Friday's "ultimate" result: Caprese Lasagna Salad, curly lasagna noodles tossed with tomatoes, Mozzarella, basil and an Herbed Vinaigrette served on a bed of warm, crispy breaded eggplant.

"We are committed to bringing our guests the best tasting food in casual dining," said Mike Archer, president and chief operating officer of T.G.I. Friday's USA. "We now feature five best-in-class recipes as determined by food experts from Food Network that you can experience only at Friday's."

In addition to the Caprese Lasagna Salad, Friday's is featuring the following winning recipes from the show's respective category winners:

Ultimate Chicken, by Amparo Alam, a 51-year-old Wal-Mart bakery worker and full-time mom from Syracuse, Utah: Peruvian Herb-Roasted Chicken, a roasted half-chicken seasoned with a lime, garlic, cumin and herb rub and served with sweet potato fries and a spicy Aji pepper sauce for dipping.

Ultimate Burgers, by Kristine Snyder, a 47-year-old professional harpist from Kihei, Hawaii: Ahi Tuna Ciabatta Burgers, two mini Ahi tuna burgers served on ciabatta with lettuce, tomatoes, green onions and Anaheim Chili sauce and served with a side of field greens tossed with Italian vinaigrette.

Ultimate Comfort Food, by Ivan Aviles, a 39-year-old general manager at Chili's from Holtsville, New York: Chipotle Grilled Steak Sandwich, tender Cajun-rubbed skirt steak served on toasted ciabatta with a blend of Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses, roasted plantain slices, lettuce, tomato, onion & Chipotle mayo, served with crispy onion rings.

Ultimate Cakes, by Janice Kollar, a 57-year-old singer/songwriter from Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: Dark Chocolate Cupcake Duo, two rich dark chocolate cupcakes topped with layers of creamy chocolate frosting and sprinkled with dark chocolate chips.

Food Network's "Ultimate Recipe Showdown," hosted by Marc Summers and Guy Fieri, features 54 original recipes, whittled down from thousands of submissions, divided into six categories -- Burgers, Chicken, Comfort Food, Pasta, Cakes, and Cookies. Every Sunday at 9 pm ET/PT, nine finalists compete under the lights and in front of an enthusiastic crowd to make the most delicious version of their recipe. A panel of judges including Katherine Alford (Director, Food Network Test Kitchen), Kerry Simon (chef and partner at SIMON LA, Simon at Palms Place and CatHouse at the Luxor) and Russ Parsons (Food Columnist, The Los Angeles Times) then score each dish on creativity, appearance, ease of execution and taste. The show's season finale airs this Sunday, March 23 at 9pm ET/PT.

Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc., the parent company of T.G.I. Friday's Inc., is a privately held company owned by Minneapolis-based Carlson, a world leader in the hospitality, travel and marketing industries. As of March 2008, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide owns, operates, franchises or licenses more than 1,000 restaurants in 60 countries. For more information, visit http://www.fridays.com/.

FOOD NETWORK (http://www.foodnetwork.com/) is a unique lifestyle network and Web site that strives to be way more than cooking. The network is committed to exploring new and different ways to approach food -- through pop culture, competition, adventure, and travel -- while also expanding its repertoire of technique-based information. Food Network is distributed to more than 90 million U.S. households and averages more than seven million Web site users monthly. With headquarters in New York City and offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and Knoxville, Food Network can be seen internationally in Canada, Australia, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Monaco, Andorra, Africa, France, and the French-speaking territories in the Caribbean and Polynesia. The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP), which also owns and operates HGTV (http://www.hgtv.com/), DIY Network (http://www.diynetwork.com/), Great American Country (http://www.gactv.com/) and FINE LIVING (http://www.fineliving.com/), is the manager and general partner.

SOURCE: T.G.I. Friday's

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