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Morganton 4th Grader Wins National Sandwich Competition

A Morganton fourth grader is the grand prize winner of this year's JIF Most Creative Sandwich Competition. Ten-year-old Jake Crawford and his family went to New York City for the March 21, 2013 awards presentation. They came home with the $25,000 scholarship. On Thursday, March 28, Jake's elementary school is throwing him a pep rally to celebrate. WFAE's Duncan McFadyen caught up with him while he was getting ready for class.

Jake says his family eats Mexican food all the time, and when he and his family go to their favorite Mexican restaurant, his dad always orders a torta. When they found out about the contest last fall, Jake looked at recipes that included the spicy, chocolaty mole sauce, and found a chicken torta sandwich.

The family originally tried peanut butter in the sauce, but after playing around with the ingredients, they chose Jif's chocolate hazelnut spread instead. 

Jake tested out the recipe on friends and neighbors, and his dad gave it the final seal of approval. His recipe made it all the way to the finals, and last week, he and four other finalists and their families traveled to New York City for the awards ceremony. They took in some of the sites, like the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, and the Museum of Natural History. He even appeared on the "Today" show. On Thursday, Jake found that he’d won the grand prize: a $25,000 scholarship.

“I was just really excited; I couldn’t believe it. I mean, out of all the people that entered, it was me that won,” Jake says.

He wants to go to N.C. State and maybe become a lawyer or get into a career in basketball.

His mom, Suzanne, says they’re going to frame giant check Jake was presented with. And in case you’re wondering, Jake’s lunch of choice is NOT his mole chicken sandwich.

“Uhhh, no. I eat peanut butter and jelly,” he says.

Credit J.M. Smucker Company
J.M. Smucker Company
Jake Crawford's prize-winning Magnificent Mole Chicken Torta

Here's Jake's prize winning recipe:



  • - 3/4 cup pulled rotisserie chicken, heated
  • - 1 slice Monterey Jack cheese, halved
  • - 1 bolillo roll, sliced lengthwise
  • - 3 avocado slices
  • - 1/2 cup thinly sliced lettuce
  • - 1/8 cup chopped tomato
  • - Dollop of sour cream (optional)


  • - Cooking spray
  • - 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • - 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • - 2 tablespoons Jif® Chocolate Flavored Hazelnut Spread
  • - 1/3 cup condensed tomato soup
  • - Juice of half a lime (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • - 1/4 cup chopped green chili peppers
  • - 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • - 1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro


Generously spray a small sauce pot with cooking spray, and sauté minced onion and garlic over medium-high heat until tender. Stir in 2 tablespoons of Jif Chocolate Flavored Hazelnut Spread, tomato soup, lime juice, cumin, cilantro and green chili peppers. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove sauce from heat. Toss half the sauce with pulled chicken, and place mixture on the bottom half of the roll. Top with cheese slices and place sandwich open-faced under a toaster oven or broiler for 2-3 minutes until cheese melts. Remove sandwich from oven, and place sliced avocado on top of melted cheese.

Then, add lettuce, tomatoes, a dollop of sour cream (optional), and the top half of roll. Use remaining sauce as extra sauce for the sandwich if desired, or to make another sandwich.

Recipe ©/TM/® The J.M. Smucker Company

Here's Jake accepting the $25,000 grand prize scholarship