Applebee's Executive Chef Recognized by Kraft for Culinary Innovation

Chef Shannon Johnson Leads Menu Development at the World's Largest Casual Dining Chain

LENEXA, KS - (Marketwire) - Applebee's Executive Chef Shannon Johnson, CEC, was recently named one of the three "2010 Chefs of Grey Poupon" by Kraft Foodservice. Johnson is director of culinary innovation and development at Applebee's, the world's largest casual dining chain.

Johnson's honor came after Kraft Foodservice conducted a nationwide search for chefs who embody the spirit of culinary creativity and accomplishment. Kraft Foodservice developed the program, now in its fifth year, to spread the inspiration that Grey Poupon has brought to successful chefs and some of their signature dishes.

One such meal at Applebee's is the Grilled Dijon Chicken & Portobellos from the restaurant's new Unbelievably Great Tasting and Under 550 Calories menu. Johnson oversaw the creation of all five Under 550 selections and tapped the distinctive taste of Grey Poupon mustard to ensure that the Dijon sauce on the Portobello chicken dish is as delicious as it is low in calories.

"We're lucky to have someone of Chef Johnson's caliber leading our culinary efforts," said Mike Archer, president, Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar. "The recognition from Kraft Foodservice shines a light on his talent and the innovation he brings to every item on the Applebee's menu."

After being named one of the 2010 Chefs of Grey Poupon, Johnson created three new dishes that showcase both Grey Poupon and his culinary artistry: Thai Temple Noodle Salad, Slow-Cooked Pork Belly with Fig Mostarda and Herb-Fried Chicken Sandwich with Dijon Molasses. His tasty recipes can be found at Johnson values Grey Poupon for its unique flavor, which melds well with other ingredients and can be used in unexpected ways, he said.

"Whether you're feeding a small gathering or guests in hundreds of neighborhoods, food should always be inspired, unique and of course, tasty," said Johnson. "It's exciting to use different sauces, seasonings, herbs and ingredients to create new dishes every day."

Johnson graduated from Johnson & Wales and has more than 20 years of experience in the foodservice industry, which includes independent restaurant, hotel and corporate hospitality, as well as theme park operations. Since 2003, he has served as director of culinary innovation and development for Applebee's, overseeing the menus for more than 2,000 Applebee's restaurants across the globe.

About Applebee's

Applebee's is the world's largest casual dining chain, with more than 2,000 locations in 49 states, 16 countries and one U.S. territory. Based in Lenexa, Kan., Applebee's takes pride in providing a welcoming, neighborhood environment where everyone can enjoy the dining experience.

Applebee's Services, Inc., and its affiliates franchise and operate restaurants under Applebee's Neighborhood Bar & Grill and are a DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN) brand.


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