Eight amateur chefs from across the country, selected for their garlic-infused recipes, will compete in the 40th Great Garlic Cook-Off June 28 at this year’s Gilroy Gilroy Garlic Festival.
Considered one of the most prestigious amateur cooking competitions in the country, the annual event will be hosted by Olympic champion and Food Network star Brian Boitano on the Challenge Butter Cook-Off Stage. Contestants will prepare their own original recipes for the chance to win a $5,000 prize and the coveted garlic crown.
Three of the finalists hail from California, including Gilroy’s own Todd Antepenko, who will be preparing Gilroy Garlic Asian Inspired Baby Back Ribs. Betty Haas, from just up the road in Cupertino, will make Cookies and Cocktails: Garlic Shortbread and McGilroy, while Lidia Haddadian from Pasadena will serve Roasted Garlic and Potato Pierogis with Garlic Shallot Bacon Jam.
Other finalists include Gloria Bradley from Naperville, Illinois, with Roasted Garlic Stuffed Fried Chicken with Pesto Mashed Potatoes and Lemogarlic Sauce; Leah Lyon from Ada, Oklahoma, with Amazing Garlic-Chili Buttered Rosé Lobster Tails with Flamenco Pesto; and Dianna Wara from Washington, Illinois, with a Pineapple and Orange Poached Garlic Tart with Macadamia Nut Crumb.
Representing the East Coast are Tina Zaccardi from Eastchester, New York, with Stuffed Ginger Poached Pears in Garlic White Chocolate Sauce; and Debbie Reid from Clearwater, Florida, with Mediterranean Potato Pancake Stacks with Basil Lime Cream.
The Great Garlic Cook-Off has been an annual tradition since the first Gilroy Garlic Festival in 1979. Contest rules require that each recipe must contain at least six cloves of garlic. Contestants will prepare their dishes in front of festival guests on the Challenge Butter Cook-Off Stage and present them to a panel of five judges. Each of the dishes will be judged on flavor, texture, creativity, appearance and use of garlic.
In addition to the $5,000 first prize, $2,500 will be awarded for second place, $1,000 for third place, and $100 for each of the remaining five finalists.
This year’s panel of judges includes Adam Sanchez, chef-owner at the Milias Restaurant in Gilroy and a past winner of the Great Garlic Cook-Off; Annie Smith, chef for Girl Power 2 Cure and a contestant on season 1 of “Food Fighters”; Austin Cobb, executive chef at the Strand House in Manhattan Beach; Jason Ryczek, executive chef at Farallon Restaurant in San Francisco; and Miriam Vega, chef at La Niña Perdida in Morgan Hill.
For more information, visit gilroygarlicfestival.com.
Inaugural Garlic Chef Jr. contest July 27
Eight young chefs, ages 6-15, will participate in the inaugural Garlic Chef Jr. contest on the July 27 opening day of the three-day Gilroy Garlic Festival.
Hosted by “MasterChef” season 7 Winner Shaun O’Neale, the new event will start at 2pm on the Challenge Butter Cook-Off Stage. Each contestant must create one baked or grilled dish containing at least six cloves of garlic. A panel of expert judges will evaluate each dish for taste, appearance, creativity and use of garlic. The winner will receive a notebook computer valued at $500.
The 2018 Garlic Chef Jr. contestants are: Hayley Alger, 14, of Gilroy, who will be making Garlic Waffles; Dominic Bozzo, 10, of Gilroy, who will be preparing a Chicken and Waffle Sandwich with Spicy Cajun Garlic Aioli; Addyson Dell, 6, of Gilroy, making Garlic Mac N Cheese with Crispy Garlic Chicken Tenders and Roasted Asparagus; Lucy Fassl, 11, preparing Roasted Garlic Lemon Herb Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus; Kaiden Lucas Gonzales, 11, preparing Korean Bulgogi Tacos; Frances Harney, 10, preparing Nona’s Pesto Gnocchi; Gannon Janisch, 15, cooking Garlic Chaka Chicken with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes; and Sara Wang, 8, making Pappardelle with Tomatoes, Italian Sausage and Parmesan.
The 2018 Gilroy Garlic Festival is July 27-29. Discount tickets are available online at gilroygarlicfestival.com and at Raley’s, Bel Air and Nob Hill Foods stores.