Carmel woman’s gyro-inspired kolache takes third place in national contest

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A Carmel woman was the bronze medal winner in the Kolache Factory’s fourth annual “Create a New Kolache” contest. For her third-place win, Grace Ravenna won free kolaches every day for three months.

“I was shocked when I learned I was a finalist a few months back,” Ravenna said. “It was super exciting and even more exciting to find out I was in the top three.”

Ravenna heard about the contest from her mother-in-law, who sent the contest link to the whole family.

Grace Ravenna won third place in the Kolache Factory’s “Create a New Kolache” contest. (Photo courtesy of Grace Ravenna)

“I can’t say that I’ve had very many (kolaches) in my life, but I do enjoy them,” Ravenna said.

The idea for her winning entry – “It’s All Greek to Me” – came from the classic gyro.

“The bread of a kolache reminded me slightly of a pita, and I immediately jumped to gyro,” Ravenna said. “I stuck with the Greek theme throughout. It just came down to what specific ingredients to include in the final creation.”

The winning combo includes seasoned gyro meat, feta cheese, diced red onion and tomatoes with Tzatziki sauce.

Lan Haywood, owner of the Carmel Kolache Factory, said Ravenna’s entry was appealing because so many people know and love the taste of gyros.

“Wrap that in a semi-sweet kolache dough instead of pita bread and you get a whole new take on a beloved dish,” Haywood said. “I think people could visualize it and know how mouth-watering it could be.”

Although only the first-place entry will appear on the Kolache Factory menu in September, Ravenna said she and her fiancé had a lot of fun coming up with different ideas.

“‘It’s All Greek to Me’ was the initial idea I came up with and I’m glad I stuck with it,” she said. “A kolache twist on a gyro seemed perfect and I am so glad the kolache fans agreed.”

The first-place kolache was created by Breann Bersi of St. Louis. “The Millennial” features fresh avocado with crisp bacon, scrambled eggs and shredded cheese. Bersi won free kolaches for a year, and her creation will be on the Kolache Factory menu in September.

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