Golden Onion – Trophy Design Winner



Georgia Artist Melissa Harris to Create Trophy for New Professional Cooking Competition Showcasing Vidalia® Onions at the 35th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival

Vidalia, Georgia, USA (Thursday, March 1, 2012) — Georgia artists were invited to submit designs for the new Golden Onion trophy, which will be presented to the First Place champion of the new Golden Onion professional cooking competition on Sunday, April 22, 2012.

Among the proposals submitted, the design by Melissa Harris of Rome, Ga. was selected by members of the Vidalia Onion Festival Committee. Her multi-media design features a plate, fork, knife balancing a large scale Vidalia® Onion.

Inspired to enter the contest for “the challenge of it,” Harris says that although she has experience producing sculptures this will be her first trophy. “I’m a big fan of competitive chef reality shows,” she says. “I saw designing the trophy as my chance to participate in this new Golden Onion professional cooking competition that will be part of the Vidalia Onion festival—and everyone in Georgia has heard of the Vidalia Onion festival!”

Raised in Marietta, Ga., Harris discovered her passion for art as a middle school student and continued to pursue art throughout high school. Though she most favors portrait drawings, she also enjoys painting, sculpture, pottery and photography.

In January 2012, the married mom opened Pinot Van Gogh on Broad Street in Rome, Ga. There she provides instruction to artists of any experience level, guiding students step-by-step through a painting they will complete in one evening. [For more information visit]

As winner of the trophy design contest, Harris will receive a $200 stipend. She will also receive complimentary admission for two to the Golden Onion professional cooking competition to be held at the Vidalia Community Center, 107 Old Airport Road in Vidalia, Ga., 12:30-5 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, 2012. Overnight accommodations, dinner on Saturday evening and breakfast Sunday morning will also be provided.

About the Golden Onion

The inaugural Golden Onion professional cooking competition will be the official kick-off to the 35th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival. This new competition challenges 12 Georgia chefs to create and prepare recipes featuring Vidalia® Onions, Georgia’s most exclusive and internationally renowned agricultural product. Competing chefs will have one hour to prepare and present their recipes. Dishes will be judged on the basis of taste, presentation and creativity. The First Place champion will be presented the Golden Onion trophy to hold for one year.

About the Vidalia Onion Festival

Celebrating its 35th year in 2012, the Vidalia Onion Festival will be held April 26-29 in Vidalia, Ga. The event has been featured on The Food Network and recognized as one of the “5 Don’t-Miss Festivals Across the U.S.” by MSNBC. The four-day festival offers something for everyone, including the Miss Vidalia Onion Pageant, a children’s parade, outdoor music concerts, an arts and crafts festival, street dance, car show, the Kiwanis Onion Run, the Vidalia Onion Festival Rodeo, and the Famous onion eating contest. Come to Vidalia to experience the “whole onion.” For more information visit


Ingrid M. Varn

Executive Director, Vidalia Area CVB