Rosa Rey’s salsa entry for Huntley’s inaugural garden salsa contest didn’t get a mention this summer, but her recipe for potato salad with a Mexican twist won the grand prize in La Costena’s national contest.
La Costena, a Mexican company with a line of products available at local grocery stores, held an online contest titled “Traditions Your Way” asking people to add a modern twist on favorite recipes using their products.
Rey’s best friend, Elizabeth Gonzalez, of Kenosha, Wis., suggested the two enter the contest a few months ago. The two thought it would be fun to have a video on YouTube, Rey said.
“We were trying to come up with something that we could wrap up in 90 seconds. We were thinking of something people eat often at picnic or family gatherings,” she said.
She came up with a basic potato salad recipe then added changes and a Mexican twist. Rather than celery, Rey used corn. She replaced the onion with purple onion and skipped the eggs and added chipotle. Then she added La Costena’s mayonnaise, which has a touch of lime, she said.
Rey enjoys cooking and feels like it’s a little escape. She is not the type to measure everything. She usually “just adds a dash of this and a pinch of this,” she said. “I jut kind of put it (the Mexican potato salad) together and it was actually pretty good.”
Her husband, Hector, did the video on the last day of the deadline in late August. The couple ran into a few problems uploading the video, converting it and editing it but finally got it up in time, she said.
La Costena, which started as a grocery store in the late 1920s in Mexico, expanded to the U.S. market in 1975 when the company began exporting chilies, according to its website. The company stated its products are sold worldwide and can be found in most Mexican kitchens.
Company representatives chose Rey’s recipe out of hundreds submitted from around the country.
"We are happy to honor Rosa Rey for creating the winning recipe for La Costeña’s "Traditions Your Way" Contest," said Jessica Gonzalez, the company's brand manager. "We encouraged anyone who had reinvented or enhanced a time-honored recipe with the help of La Costeña to submit a video that showcased a recipe infused with creativity, passion, and originality."
"Rosa won the grand prize because her innovative potato salad spiced with chipotles demonstrated her love for cooking and her ability to infuse traditional Mexican flavors into any modern meal,” Gonzalez said.
She didn’t realize she had won until a friend called to tell her she needed to contact the company right away. The company had sent Rey a letter but she never received it. Rey called the company on the last day she could claim the prize.
“I didn’t believe it,” she said. “There were so many submissions. There were some pretty good ones. People were so creative. There were some with people singing in the background with guitars.”
Company representatives told her they liked the recipe and it was easy to follow, two things they wanted in a video, she said.
Rey won the grand prize, a paid culinary trip to New Mexico or a $3,000 cash award. Rey and her husband opted for the cash award because they have a young child and it would have been hard to get away.
“I was really excited,” she said of winning the contest. “It’s funny, these products have been a staple in our home for so long, it never would have dawned on me to win.”