Top chefs headline 2019 Garlic Festival

Master chefs are again headed to the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

James Beard Award-winning chef, restaurant owner and Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio will be appearing at the 41st annual festival and will host the Great Garlic Cook-Off on July 27, according to organizers. He then will conduct a cooking demonstration on the Garlic Cook-Off Stage, sharing one of his own favorite garlic-laced recipes and answering questions from the audience.

Tom Colicchio
Gerron Hurt

“We are thrilled to welcome a top-tier chef like Tom Colicchio to this year’s Gilroy Garlic Festival,” said festival president Shawn Keck. “Tom’s culinary expertise combined with his passion for giving back to the community are a perfect fit for our event.”

Gerron Hurt, 2018 MasterChef winner, is slated to appear on July 26. Hurt will serve as emcee for both the Champions for Charity challenge and Garlic Chef Jr. competition and will also perform his own cooking demonstration on the Garlic Cook-Off Stage.

Poster contest winner

Artist Chloe Crossman’s poster was awarded first place in the 2019 Gilroy Garlic Festival Art Poster Contest, and will be in store windows all over the Garlic City.

Crossman receives a $500 prize, and prints of her winning design will be available for sale during the July 26-28 festival at Christmas Hill Park. The poster design will also be featured on Gilroy Garlic Festival merchandise, including canvas bags and aprons.

Crossman grew up in Berkeley and Oakland and now works in Southern California. She told festival organizers that she has been making art—and loving garlic—for as long as she can remember. In her watercolor poster, she said she wanted to create “something fun and fresh that focused on the beauty of garlic flowers.” She will be attending the festival for the first time.

William Harris of Maricopa, Arizona won second place, and third place went to Priscilla Martinez of Watsonville. Martinez’ design also won the Association’s Choice prize, voted on by volunteer members of the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association.

Queen crowned May 19

Every year since 1979, the Gilroy Garlic Festival has crowned a Miss Gilroy Garlic Festival Queen to reign over the festivities. This year’s queen pageant will be held at 3pm May 19, at New Hope Community Church.

Ten contestants will be judged by a panel of five judges on personal interviews, talent, speeches about garlic and answers to an on-stage question.

Christopher Ranch will be awarding scholarships totaling over $15,000.

This year’s contestants include Amaya Leyba-Guerra, Katie Van Horn and Raeanne Ceballos from Gilroy High School, Brianna Budelli and Gisselle Oliveria from Christopher High School, Simran Sihra from the Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy, Lilly Higging from Presentation High School, Jennesa Andrade from Gavilan College, Kylie Kuwada from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Lauryn Longoria from Vanguard University.

The queen and her court will represent Gilroy at various festivities leading up to the Gilroy Garlic Festival weekend. They will also have the opportunity to make guest appearances in local print, radio, TV and online media, in parades and at fundraising events.

The Great Garlic Cook-Off started at the very first Gilroy Garlic Festival in 1979 and has grown to become one of the nation’s best-known—and most intense—amateur cooking contests.

Eight chefs from around the country will be competing on the Garlic Cook-Off Stage, preparing their own original recipes for the chance to win a grand prize of $3,000 and the coveted garlic crown

Also on the Garlic Cook-Off Stage, the Champions for Charity challenge will feature teams of local first responder heroes (including active or retired firefighters, police officers, EMS professionals and military) competing in a three-round cooking challenge to win a cash prize for the charity of their choice. Garlic Chef Jr. is an exciting new competition that debuted in 2018, with eight young cooks under the age of 18 competing on the Garlic Cook-Off Stage.

The Champions for Charity competition, Garlic Chef Jr., and other Garlic Cook-Off Stage events are sponsored in part by Christopher Ranch, longtime supporters of the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Don Christopher was one of the original founders of the first Gilroy Garlic Festival in 1979, and the family-owned company continues to supply the festival with over two tons of fresh California-grown garlic each year.

Presale pageant tickets will be available for purchase from any of the contestants or at the Gilroy Garlic Festival Office, at 5975 Rossi Lane, Suite 200, for $10. On the day of the event, tickets for the pageant can be purchased at the door for $15. For more information, visit gilroygarlicfestival.com/festival/miss-gilroy-garlic.

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