Letter: Garlic Festival committee came up with a wonderful new dish

Thank you for the acknowledgement of being a part of the
committee that was formed to create a new item for Gourmet
Dear Editor,

Thank you for the acknowledgment of being a part of the committee that was formed to create a new item for Gourmet Alley. First, I need to say that Washington should take a lesson from the work that this group committed itself to. It was commissioned in September by President Kurt Svardal and Past President Ed Mauro, who serves as the chairperson of the Past President’s group which is known as the Strategic Planning Committee.

Founder Rudy Melone’s vision was that there should be a group that runs the annual festival (Board of Directors) and a group that looks to the future (the past presidents and founders).

The committee started its work in December and concluded its work in January with a recommendation that went to the Board of Directors shortly thereafter. The committee composed of Ann Zyburra and Adam Sanchez of the newly opened Milias Restaurant, Jon Vickroy, assistant chair of the cook-off stage, Garlic Festival President Kurt Svardal, Garlic Festival Executive Director Brian Bowe, Gourmet Alley chairs and co-chairs Vito Mercado and Mike Davis along with Doug Stewart and Dave Reynolds. Longtime festival volunteer Joanne Kraemer attended every meeting and assisted with the preparation of one of the items for review.

Gene Sakahara also worked on an item that met with favorable response which could end up as a new item in a future festival.

From Tampa Forida, Jay Minzer, personal chef and regular judge on the cook-off stage was available by SKYPE and Steve Catalano of LB Steak on Santana Row and Phil Barrett of Flap Jacks of Tres Pinos, along with George Sammut of Black Bear Diner were available for consultation.

A special thank you to Dave Bozzo for his input and providing the kitchen at the Gilroy Elks for the testing. Majid Bahriny of Mama Mia’s was an invaluable resource and regular participant. He also assisted with a review of the pasta con pesto recipe, including the use of the restaurant for the testing of that item. The above names were present for the meetings, including the testing of the final three items.

Also included at the final meeting were Garlic Festival Vice President Hugh Davis along with Board Members Suzie Connell and Ken Fry. The minutes of the meeting were skillfully handled by Chris Filice of the Garlic Festival office. Chris faithfully reminded us of the meetings and made sure that there was a meeting place for the group. Although there were many of us on the committee that remember the term surf and turf, it was Past President Greg Bozzo who reminded us that people in their 20s and 30s were not around when the term surf and turf was used on a menu, thus the introduction of the “The Surf and Turf Alley Wrap”, the 2011 addition to Gourmet Alley.

Our congratulations to Adam Sanchez and Ann Zyburra for their creation, demonstration and training of the new item. On behalf of co-chair Gene Sakahara and myself we thank all of the above for their involvement. They demonstrate what makes Gilroy a great place to work and play.

Sam Bozzo, Past President, Gilroy Garlic Festival

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