Announcing the Winner of Our Most Innovative Recipe Contest

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

Our readers voted! Check out the winner of the Most Innovative Recipe Contest.

While we do love our tried-and-true recipes, we get special satisfaction from making a new recipe we’ve never seen before. And new recipes are made all the better if they feature a new-to-us technique or unusual ingredient that makes the recipe really pop. That’s exactly what we asked for in our Most Innovative Recipe Contest, and did our readers ever deliver!

After testing recipes and putting up the finalists for a vote, one dish stood out: the Kilbourn Sandwich created by Dan Seering of Verona, Wisconsin.

Go to Recipe

What Makes the Kilbourn Sandwich Special?

This sandwich is a next-level version of the Monte Cristo—a grilled sandwich filled with ham, turkey and Swiss cheese. But Dan made this sammie his own using a prep-ahead method (yep, you can freeze these) and by dipping it in pancake batter.

“I haven’t seen this with many other recipes,” says James Schend, Deputy Editor, Culinary, for Taste of Home. And believe us, it’s hard to stun James with a new technique—he looks at hundreds of new recipes each year.

Layered up with strawberry preserves and fried until crispy and golden, the Kilbourn Sandwich is the perfect blend of sweet, savory, tender and crispy. Make a batch and toss ’em in the freezer, then fry whenever you’re craving a unique brunch dish.

What Inspired Dan?

Dan was inspired by his time managing the River Inn Resort and Supper Club in the Wisconsin Dells. He spent much of his time in the kitchen picking up recipes from the many cooks, including his lifelong friend Dale.

During their tenure at the supper club, Dan and Dale wanted to develop a special menu item that would fit the bill for breakfast and lunch. Both fans of the Monte Cristo, the friends used this sandwich as a starting point and eventually came up with the idea to pair the sandwich with the restaurant’s much-loved pancake batter.

“The sandwich quickly became our best seller for breakfast and lunch,” Dan says.

But the Kilbourn Sandwich was popular with more than just guests. Dan told us that restaurant staffers loved these sandwiches and they’ve become a hit with his family and friends as well.

Dan submitted this recipe in memory of his buddy, who passed away several years ago. We are so glad he did!

Where Does the Name Come From?

Besides being an innovative recipe, this sandwich also comes with an interesting name. Dan explains that at the River Inn, he and his colleagues often named drinks and dishes after legendary figures from the Wisconsin Dells area. The name Kilbourn is taken from Byron Kilbourn, the tycoon who built the railroad running through the area.

You can check out more of these recipes in Dan’s cookbook The Lost Supper Club.

Most Innovative WinnerTaste of home, Courtesy Dan Seering

A Little More About Our Contest Winner

While his time managing a supper club inspired this tasty recipe, Dan says that his interest in food began long before his time there. As a kid, Dan spent time with his grandmother Goldie in northern Wisconsin where she ran a boarding house.

“Goldie was a tremendous cook who grew all her own vegetables and served dinner every night to her guests,” he explains.

During his stays, Dan became fascinated with cooking and soon took the plunge with his very first recipe: an angel food cake.

“I did not fully understand the recipe and used tartar sauce instead of cream of tartar,” Dan says. “It’s still a family story!”

Despite that flub, Dan continues to enjoy his time in the kitchen. New recipes are a favorite of his, and each time he prepares one, he gives it a new twist. Sounds about right for our Most Innovative Recipe winner!

When he’s not in the kitchen, Dan spends time in his workshop, writes poetry, songs and books and has even built a “catarium” for his cat Bud.

Popular Videos

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.