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California Giant Berry Farms Announces Finalists in Chef Invitational Showdown

California Giant Berry Farms Announces Finalists in Chef Invitational Showdown

WATSONVILLE, CA - Combining two of America’s greatest loves, food and competition—or is that just me?—California Giant Berry Farms announced the five finalists that will attend and compete in the company's first annual Chef Invitational showdown on July 10, 2018. Professional chefs from Markon, Renaissance Food Group, Sysco, and US Foods will each have chefs competing before a live audience and a panel of judges at Tehama Golf Club in Monterey, California.

Dave Parker, Executive Chef, Tehama Golf Club"Being able to be a part of this exciting project has been a great experience,” says Dave Parker, Executive Chef for Tehama Golf Club, in a recent press release. “Having the difficult task of choosing the top applicants was the most challenging part. With so many exciting recipes and mouthwatering pictures to look at made our job that much tougher. After much debate, we decided on the top 5 recipes. We are all excited to see what the chefs can create during the showdown.”

The five finalists: Ty Baloca, Shane Henderson, Matthew Lauer, Luis Reyes, Laura Vaughn (left to right)

The five finalists—and their recipes—competing for the title of 2018 California Giant Top Chef are:

  • Ty Baloca, Chef/Product Development for Renaissance Food Group—Black and Blues Shrimp Kinalaw
  • Shane Henderson, Chef, Ben E. Keith/Markon—Strawberry Jalapeno Pancakes with Mixed Berry Syrup and Duck Wings
  • Matthew Lauer, Chef, Sysco—Marinated Wild Boar with Pickled Berry Salad
  • Luis Reyes, chef, Sysco—Berry, Tomato Beet Salad
  • Laura Vaughn, Brands Chef, US Foods—Blueberry Lavender Financier, Raspberry Sorbet & Blackberry Compote

Tom Smith, Director of Foodservice, California Giant Berry Farms“We were surprised and very pleased with the quantity and the caliber of recipes we received by this wide network of professionals,” said Tom Smith, California Giant Berry Farms Director of Foodservice. “We are so excited to bring these five chefs to California and compete in an event where we get to see the recipes come off the page and prepared in front of us with the opportunity to taste each one.”

The Chef Invitational was launched in March by Tom Smith to further cement relationships with key members of the foodservice industry and recognize talented chefs that create innovative and delicious recipes with California Giant brand berries. Additionally, this new arsenal of chef-developed recipes will provide inspiration to the thousands of consumers in the company database.

The Tehama Golf Club in Monterey, California

The three-day event, which will be filled with tours and social events, will culminate with the chef showdown on July 10, 2018, where each chef will prepare their recipe entry side-by-side. Judges for the showdown will include Chef Dave Parker and professional chefs from the Monterey and Carmel area, along with a representative from the trade press. Guests attending the event in July will have the opportunity to taste each recipe created for the judges and vote for a People’s Choice award in addition to the professional judge’s award.

The chef showdown will also feature sponsors from the Monterey area serving local wines, cheeses, olive oil, and chocolate while guests have the chance to watch each chef in action.

“We expect a group of about 50 people to attend and enjoy the ocean view while tasting the innovative berry offerings, sipping wine and following up with a delicious local cheese or chocolate,” adds Smith.

California Giant Berry Farms Strawberries

The winning recipe will be featured at the California Giant Berry Farms booth at the PMA Foodservice Conference in Monterey, California, in July.

For additional info on the chefs and the competition, please click here.

California Giant Berry Farms

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California Giant Berry Farms

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