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The Salinas Rotary Club Features D'Arrigo Produce in the City's Spin of 'Chopped'

The Salinas Rotary Club Features D'Arrigo Produce in the City's Spin of 'Chopped'

SALINAS, CA - Chef Todd Fisher of Tarpy’s and Chef Tony Baker of Montrio went head to head in Salinas’ own take of the popular Food Network show Chopped, hosted by the town’s local Rotary group and featuring fresh D’Arrigo produce in two of the four required ingredients.

With 40 minutes on the clock, both chefs were tasked with making dishes that would impress the judges using chicken, bacon, Andy Boy’s broccoli rabe, and Andy Boy fennel. The panel consisted of three judges: Claudia Pizarro-Villalobos, Marketing and Culinary Manager for D’Arrigo, Chef Briana Sammut of Provence Bakery, and Chef Alessio Giannuzzi of Giorgio’s.

Claudia Pizarro-Villalobos, Marketing and Culinary Manager, D'Arrigo“It was an amazing culinary event with two outstanding chefs competing for the title of Rotary Chopped Champion,” Villalobos said. “As one of three judges, it was a culinary explosion of aromas in the Steinbeck Center as they cooked with the 4 secret ingredients.”

While the atmosphere was a competitive one, the two chefs shared in friendly banter as well as answering questions from the audience. Despite razzing one another, both men displayed sportsmanship as, according to The Californian, Baker did end up frying up Fisher’s bacon for him when he didn’t have a burner available.

“You wanted it really black, right?” Baker teased Fisher, according to the report.

The senses of humor and shared passion for cooking reportedly engaged the audience so far as to be “on the edge of their seats,” and laughing constantly.

From Left to Right: Chef Todd Fisher, Claudia Pizarro-Villalobos, Chef Tony Baker

True to the form of the show that inspired it all, both chefs plated their dishes just in time, but there could only be one winner.

“It was a tough decision, but in the end Chef Tony Baker was crowned the Rotary Chopped Champion,” Villalobos said.

The event acted as an exciting kick-off to the upcoming 5th Annual Pigs, Pinot and MORE event on Saturday night, February 28. Another event hosted by the Salinas Rotary Group, Pigs and Pinot is a fundraiser for local non-profits in the Salinas area. 

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