California Giant Berry Farms Welcomes Foodservice and Retail Chefs to Participate in 3rd Annual Chef Invitational Heading to Portland, Oregon
WATSONVILLE, CA - With a new theme, location, and event guidelines in tow, California Giant Berry Farms announced its 3rd Annual Chef Invitational for July 19-22, and this time, the berry company is welcoming both foodservice and retail partners to join in on the culinary competition in the Pacific Northwest. For the first time ever, the Chef Invitational will be hitting the road and uniting both foodservice and retail chefs to bring forth their best berry-inspired entrée and dessert recipes for the chance to be selected as a Chef Finalist and attend an all-inclusive trip to Portland, Oregon.
“Blueberries continue to chip away at retail shelf space that was previously held by strawberries,” explains California Giant Berry Farms Director of Foodservice, Tom Smith. “At California Giant, we are continuing to increase blueberry production and year-round supplies from all major growing regions in both conventional and organic categories, so it made perfect sense to promote blueberries through this event in the 'Year of Blue.' With our summer blueberry production in Oregon, near an incredible food-forward city such as Portland, we couldn’t have found a better place to hold the event.”
With an all-encompassing year-long effort to celebrate the ‘Year of Blue'—a color with deep symbolism of the California Giant brand and company heritage—it only felt fitting for the berry company to bring the Chef finalists to tour its blueberry operations in a colorful, food-centric city like Portland, Oregon.
"I loved getting to know fellow chefs and being creative with one of my favorite ingredients: berries,” said 2019 Top California Giant Chef and Markon Chef representative Travis G. Peters, when looking back at his experience from last year’s Chef Invitational. “Having a mid-summer field tour and culinary competition brought out the best dishes I’ve seen in a long time.”
The online recipe submission portal is officially open, and industry chefs are being asked to submit at least one berry-inspired entrée or dessert recipe to the online portal by May 1, 2020 to be considered for a Chef finalist position. According to a press release, chef recipes will be judged based upon appearance, use of at least two berries in a quantity of one cup or more, flavor, and creativity.
“We’re incredibly excited to host this event for the 3rd consecutive year,” added Smith. “The Chef Invitational has continued to build great relationships with our foodservice partners and their talented chefs, and we’re happy to add the retail channel chefs to the event this year. The chefs that have won the competition the last two years have served as unmatched brand ambassadors and have continued to use and promote California Giant berries in restaurants, beer collaborations, recipe creation, and menu development. The more the chefs are talking about and using berries in innovative new recipes, the more berries we sell. And at the end of the day, we are driving innovation and ultimately driving sales.”
The Chef finalists will be selected and announced to the industry by May 11, 2020. Upon arriving in Portland this July, finalists will then learn guidelines for the second phase of the ongoing event, a new challenge and exciting twist to the 2020 competition. This year’s 2020 finalists can expect blueberry field tours in the lush countryside outside Portland city limits, one-on-one time with blueberry growers, educational activities, a look inside California Giant’s sustainability initiatives and Bee Better Program, berry varietal tastings, chef swag bags, meal events, and a suspenseful second-phase of the competition.
Do not hesitate to throw your chef’s hat into the berry ring! To find out how the finalists fare at this year’s event, keep a tab open for us at AndNowUknow.