Meet the judges

Evelyn Miliate

The five judges for 2013’s Gilroy Garlic Festival’s “Great Garlic Cook-off” competition have been announced. Here’s who they are and the knowledge they’re bringing.
Majid Bahriny – Mama Mia’s Italian Restaurant: Bahriny is already well-known to patrons of the Gilroy Garlic Festival for his work in reviving the old “pesto pasta” dish and revamping it into the “Penne Pasta con Pesto” dish in Gourmet Alley in 2004. The Iranian-born gastronome started his culinary journey in Germany where he was inspired by his family’s herb garden and the fresh ingredients he found at local farmer’s markets. A connoisseur of Italian Mediterranean food, Bahriny owns and operates four Mama Mia’s restaurants across the Bay Area.
Luca Rutigliano – General manager at CordeValle in San Martin: Early childhood trips to the local markets in the countryside of Italy  with his mother and grandmother fired the imagination of a young Rutigliano. Those influences were brought to life at CordeValle and married to the best in organic meats and produce to be found in the local area. Chef Rutigliano received a portion of his culinary training at the prestigious Etoile Culinaire University in Venice, Italy. He has worked around the globe and has held the much-admired position of Executive Sous Chef at the Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel, in New York.
Jay Minzer: Minzer has been a judge in the Cook-off since 2000. The story behind Minzer’s first Garlic Festival invitation to be a judge is the stuff of legend for fanatics of the stinking rose. Minzer helped Val Filice, Gene Sakahara and Sam Bozzo with equipment and food at Florida’s first Garlic Festival in Delray Beach in 1999. At present, Minzer is working as a private chef for a family in New York. When he’s not doing that, he’s busy donating his time, knowledge and skills to various nonprofits or taking the time to talk to high school students thinking about a career in the culinary field.
Evelyn Miliate – Head Chef representing Raley’s Family of Fine Stores: Another returning judge for the “Great Garlic Cook-off,” Miliate brings a wide range of skills to the judge’s chair. As well as being recognizable from the 14 years she’s been associated with the festival, festivalgoers may have seen Miliate on TV offering tips and advice for Raley’s. A graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Miliate made her way west via Philadelphia and Sacramento, ultimately joining Raley’s in 1998.
Adam Sanchez – The Milias Restaurant: Helmed by Sanchez and his business partner Ann Zyburra, The Milias Restaurant has bested all others to snag the title of “Best Restaurant” in multiple publications for the past couple of years. Sanchez and Zyburra revived the downtown landmark to its former glory by rejuvenating the marble floor, chandeliers, cowboy memorabilia and horseshoe bar. In 2001, Sanchez enchanted the judges with his “Garlic Marnier Duck Pot Stickers” and walked off with the first place prize of $1,000 in that year’s Great Garlic Cook-off.