By Becky Billingsley
Monday, August 13, 2012, Conway - Barbara Whitley of Crady’s Restaurant in Conway is one of 30 chefs nationwide to make it to a semifinal round in a quest for a $20,000 restaurant makeover.
More than 250,000 American chefs who are customers of US Foods, a leading restaurant supply distributor, were invited to enter recipes for a chance to win the makeover. On Aug. 3, right before the deadline to enter, Whitley entered her recipe for Fresh Peach Cupcakes with Apple Butter Cream Frosting, and that earned her a spot among 30 semifinalists.
The contest is called Next Top Product, and right now fans of Whitley’s locally renowned baked goods can vote for her recipe by clicking HERE. Whitley’s Peach Cupcakes are the second dessert to the right.
Voting continues through Friday, Sept. 7, and then the top three vote-getters will go to Chicago later in September to present their recipes to a judge panel at the US Foods Fall Food Lovers Forum. One of those three will receive the $20,000 makeover and their recipe developed into a new US Foods Chef’s Line product for national distribution. The two runners-up will each receive $1,000 in credit from US Foods.
Crafting the Recipe
Whitley submitted a recipe she developed a month ago for a friend’s wedding shower. The bride likes fruit, and at the time Whitley had a surplus of fresh local peaches.
In the process of making the first batch, Whitley stumbled upon a preparation method that produced an ultra-moist cake.
“I did a fine dice on the peaches,” Whitley said Aug. 11 at Crady's Restaurant on Main Street in Conway, “and it was serendipitous how they turned out so moist. I put the peaches in the mix at the beginning, instead of the end. I creamed the butter and sugar, added the eggs, then added the peaches. I thought I made a mistake at first, because it looked curdled. But I persevered on, and it turned out that method made them really moist. My husband loved them, and that sealed the deal.”
Imagine the moist wonderful cakey parts of a peach cobbler, and that’s what these cupcakes taste like.
Then there’s the Apple Butter Cream Frosting, which has the lightness and mouth-feel of whipped cream.
“I remembered the bride loved apple butter, and at the time I had been thinking of my brother, [the late] Luther Crady. He made his own apple butter…I made this frosting in honor of the bride and my brother.”
The now nationally famous cupcakes are available at Crady’s in three sizes: minis are $1.50, mediums are $3 and oversized are $4.
Whitley was urged to enter Next Top Product by local US Foods territory manager, Jennifer Aguruso, and she says Whitley’s innovations in baking were perfect for this contest.
“Our customers are the inspiration for the new products we launched,” she said. “This contest rewards our customers for their ingenuity and gives them a chance to make their best recipe available to diners across America.”
Crady’s is at 332 Main St. in Conway, and the number is (843) 248-3321.