California Giant Berry Farms Reveals Fifth Annual Chef Invitational Semi-Finalists; Tom Smith Details
WATSONVILLE, CA - The time has come once again to uplift the role of fresh berries in the foodservice landscape. California Giant Berry Farms has continued to do this through its Chef Invitational, and now the company has unveiled the nine semi-finalists of its fifth annual event.
“The goal of the Chef Invitational has always been building relationships with key members of the industry,” said Tom Smith, Director of Sales at California Giant Berry Farms. “We also look to recognize the work of accomplished chefs that create innovative recipes every day, and we’re thrilled to provide a platform in which it can highlight its talent.”
Each of the semi-finalist chefs will face off for public voting on the California Giant Chef Invitational website to win the People’s Choice award, as a press release explained. Online voting will run now through May 21 to allow ample time for public voting for the People's Choice Chef.
The chef semi-finalists in the running for this coveted honor are:
- David McGurn, Performance Foodservice — Congee with Brûlée Berries, Granola, and Quick Berry Pickles
- Dontre’al Haigler, Denny’s — Crispy Fruity Chorizo Fried Octopus with Blueberry Sticky Rice
- Erin Copeland, Gordon Food Service — Duck Confit Tacos with Blackberry Brown Butter Mole
- Jason Mortus, Gordon Food Service — Thai Blueberry Coconut Milk Chicken
- Jereme Nemeth, Sysco — Blackberry Fennel Scallops with Blueberry Risotto
- Juan Rosado, Gordon Food Service — Strawberry Lemongrass Shrimp with Blueberry Basil Fried Rice
- Katie Bulger, Performance Foodservice — Blackberry Brown Butter Sous Vide Seabass with Strawberry Chimichurri
- Robert Stegall-Smith, Performance Foodservice — Asian Berry Breakfast Bowl
- Steven Halliday, Gordon Food Service — Red Thai Berry Chicken Curry with Blueberry Lemon Rice
Both the People’s Choice and four additional chef finalists will attend an in-person, four-day finale event on California’s Central Coast, from June 25–28. The event will feature field tours of California Giant berry fields, meet-and-greets with growers, an educational component led by Chef Rosalyn Darling, and a grand finale at which the Top Chef will be named.
The ultimate Top Chef winner will take home a $1,000 cash prize and a matching grant to their selected non-profit organization. The Top Chef will also be a brand ambassador for California Giant throughout the 2023–2024 year.
Click here to learn more about the 2023 California Giant Chef Invitational and to vote for the People’s Choice winner.
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