Press Release | Fun

PepsiCo and Tastemade Launch "Game Day Grub Match" Digital Content Series


PURCHASE, N.Y., Jan. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Your Super Bowl party menu is about to get a lot more interesting.

PepsiCo and Tastemade today announced the launch of Game Day Grub Match, a digital content series featuring three Tastemade chefs (a.k.a. Tastemakers) competing to create the ultimate football food.

The series, hosted by celebrity chef and restaurateur Jet Tila, features three episodes of tailgating fun and culinary competition. To score the dishes, PepsiCo assembled a powerhouse panel of judges from the worlds of food and football, comprised of: Food Network Chef Anne Burrell; Former Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receiver and Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward; and PepsiCo Executive Chef Stephen Kalil.

The Tastemaker with the highest cumulative score wins tickets to Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas. Oh, and there's one catch: each dish must use at least two PepsiCo products as ingredients.

"The Super Bowl is a huge stage for PepsiCo and our brands. Every year we look for new ways to bring the excitement of Super Bowl Sunday to life for fans across the country, and Game Day Grub Match brings the worlds of food and football together in a way only PepsiCo can," said Stephen Kalil. "Our food and beverage products have tremendous culinary versatility, and these three Tastemakers created some truly inspiring recipes that are certain to be crowd-pleasing favorites."

All of the episodes, along with the Tastemaker recipes and other fun Game Day Grub Match content, are available at PepsiCo and Tastemade will promote the content across their respective social media properties including advertising on Tastemade's Snapchat Discover channel. The winning Tastemaker will also take over Tastemade's Snapchat Stories channel during Super Bowl weekend, documenting several experiences including Taste of the NFL's "Party with a Purpose," an annual event supported by PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation to raise money for food banks across the United States.

The Tastemakers
The three Tastemakers competing in PepsiCo's Game Day Grub Match are:

  • Megan Mitchell, a Los Angeles-based chef, food stylist, and media personality. After attending culinary school at The Art Institute in Santa Monica, she spent a year as a pastry chef at the highly regarded JiRaffe restaurant. Mitchell is the host of Tastemade's Grill Camp, where she travels the country cooking up delicious, innovative meals.
  • Josh Elkin, a self-taught chef known for his unique take on food and his unusual talent for turning edible dishes into incredible works of art. Many of his masterpieces, such as The Poutine Tornado, Chicken Wing of Thrones and Breakfast Bread Bowl, have gone viral.
  • Frankie Celenza, an Emmy Award winning tastemaker who comes from a long line of teachers and food lovers. His Italian-American heritage is at the center of his identity and culinary perspective. Growing up cooking, eating, and learning with his family, Celenza is now dedicated to teaching his fans how to be comfortable in the kitchen while experimenting with new flavors and cuisines.

"As someone who has competed in many cooking competitions, I know the kind of pressure you face as a contestant," said Chef Tila. "The Tastemakers impressed me at every turn and really brought their A-games! It was a blast working with them, and anyone who loves good food, good football and good fun is going to love Game Day Grub Match."

The Dishes
The Tastemakers competed in three rounds, each with a distinct theme.

Round 1: Food Inside Food

  • Quaker Oats and Naked Juice Ice Cream Sandwiches – Naked® Juice Mighty Mango "faux ice cream" sandwiched between two Quaker® oatmeal cookies
  • Third Down Dog – hot dog wrapped in bacon, cheese and ground beef, coated with a crushed Doritos® Nacho Cheese and Cheetos® crust, and topped with a Tropicana® Farmstand Pomegranate Blueberry BBQ sauce
  • Egg in Quaker Oats Purgatory – egg inside a savory Quaker oatmeal with cherry tomatoes and seasonings, topped with crushed Baked Lay's® and Doritos Nacho Cheese

Round 2: Texas Inspired

  • Frito Pie… with a Kick! – a crushed Fritos® pie crust, baked with spicy ground beef chili using Tostitos® Habanero Salsa and Pepsi®-glazed onions
  • Pepsi Wild Cherry Grilled Ribs – baby back ribs and chili peppers marinated in Pepsi Wild Cherry, grilled and served on top Sabra® Farmer's Ranch Greek Yogurt Dip
  • Tropicana and Pepsi Carnitas Tacos – pork braised with Pepsi-Cola and Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice served on corn tortillas, topped with fresh pico de gallo

Round 3: Finger Food

  • Sabra Spinach Dip Stuffed Onion Rings –Sabra® Spinach Parmesan Greek Yogurt Dip and cheesy mozzarella stuffed into an onion ring coated with Stacy's® Pita Chips and served with a topping of Tostitos® salsa
  • Smashed Sweet Potato Bites with IZZE Pomegranate Sauce – tender yet crispy smashed sweet potato rounds coated in finely crushed SunChips, served with a sweet and sticky IZZE® Sparkling Pomegranate drizzle, feta crumbles, fresh thyme and pomegranates
  • Quaker Oats & Sabra Hummus Falafel – falafel balls made with Sabra hummus, Quaker Oats, mint and walnuts, served with Tostitos salsa

"I love, love, loved seeing these creative young chefs put their own unique twist on game day food," said Anne Burrell. "This competition has something for everyone, and all three contestants scored big with their dishes. They even inspired me to try a few new things the next time I have friends over to watch the big game."

"I know a thing or two about game day grub, and the Tastemakers blew me away with their recipes," said Hines Ward. "To me, the next best thing to being on the field Super Bowl Sunday is enjoying the game with great food and friends. These dishes would be the MVP of any Super Bowl party menu."

The Winner
When all the forks were down and scores were tallied, Josh Elkin took home the Game Day Grub Match trophy.

Josh and his dad, Ronnie Elkin, will be PepsiCo's guest in Houston, where they will visit various sites around the city, check out PepsiCo's brand activations around town, attend Taste of the NFL's "Party with a Purpose" to help raise money for the fight against hunger, and of course attend Super Bowl LI.

While in Houston, Josh will take over Tastemade's Snapchat Stories channel to share his experience with fans.

"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," Elkin said. "Before Game Day Grub Match, I honestly had no idea these were all PepsiCo products – which made it all the more fun to go wild in the kitchen. Megan and Frankie were tough competitors and I love their stuff, but I'm pretty excited to say, 'Super Bowl LI, here I come!'"

PepsiCo's relationship with the NFL is among the company's longest running and most successful sports sponsorships. The Super Bowl represents the culmination of a season-long activation for PepsiCo brands. This year's plans include the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show; the launch of LIFEWTR, a new premium bottled water brand, with an in-game advertisement and "Art After Dark" experience; the Pepsi Rookie of the Year Award; a Mtn Dew Kickstart activation at NFL Experience; NSPIRE, an innovation kitchen on wheels that will be dishing out PepsiCo-inspired dishes at Game Day Plaza; Tostitos, the official chip and dip of the NFL; and Gatorade, a fixture on the sidelines and in the locker room that fuels athletes on the field. 

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 $63 billion in net revenue in 2015, 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 fundamental belief that the success of our company is inextricably linked to the sustainability of the world around. We believe that continuously improving the products we sell, operating responsibly to protect our planet and empowering people around the world is what enables PepsiCo to run a successful global company that creates long-term value for society and our shareholders. For more information, visit

About PepsiCo Foundation
Established in 1962, the PepsiCo Foundation is the philanthropic anchor of PepsiCo, collaborating with non-profit organizations to develop innovative solutions to challenges facing underserved communities around the world.  In support of PepsiCo's commitment to Performance with Purpose, the PepsiCo Foundation provides grants to eligible non-profit organizations to advance progress in the fields of Human, Environmental, and Talent Sustainability.  For more information, visit

About Tastemade
Tastemade is a digital media company focused on food, travel and lifestyle programming for the connected generation. They bring this to life on every screen from smartphones to connected TVs for a global community of 100 million monthly active viewers. Tastemade has won several awards for its innovative programming, including a James Beard Award in 2014. Based in Santa Monica, CA, the company is funded by Goldman Sachs, Redpoint Ventures, Raine Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Liberty Media, Scripps Networks Interactive, and Tohokushinsha Film Corporation. For more information, visit Tastemade at:


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