WATSONVILLE, CA – California Giant is proud to announce the finalists of its 3rd Annual Chef Invitational by going digital and including a new philanthropic component that allows non-profit organizations two chances to win cash prizes.
Due to the pandemic’s shelter-in-place orders, this year’s competition and prize opportunities have been restructured to a web-based platform allowing both trade and consumer audiences to view and participate. Not only are the chefs and their unique recipes on display, but a new component featuring a non-profit organization of their choice was also added.
“Understanding that the food service category was hit hard by shelter-in-place orders and business closures, it didn’t take long for us to realize we needed to bring this competition online so that the show could go on,” said Tom Smith, Director of Foodservice & Organic Sales for California Giant. “As we have all been faced with adapting to the reality of what has been ‘normal’ for the past few months, we are equally hopeful that this event can re-focus and rejuvenate each of us as we tell our stories through food, friendship and continued partnership in the Chef Invitational.”
The Chef Invitational will run through July 8th during which time each chef and their creative, berry-inspired dish will be promoted individually on social media. This will allow ample time for members of the trade, as well as consumers, to vote for their favorite dish and determine who will be named the People’s Choice winner. The winner and their selected non-profit will both receive $500. The Top Chef award will be selected by past winners of the Chef Invitational in combination with other culinary experts. The Top Chef will receive $1,000 cash for himself and his selected non-profit organization, as well as event participation as brand ambassador for California Giant throughout the year.
This year’s competition structure and prize opportunities have been re-configured to a web-based platform allowing both trade and consumer audiences to view and participate. Not only are the chefs and their inspiring recipes on display, but the new component featuring a non-profit organization of their choice was also added.
“In a time where so many are directly affected by the consequences of the pandemic, California Giant wanted to bring a philanthropic element to the Invitational,” said Kyla Oberman, Director of Marketing for California Giant. “It’s our mission to give back to our community, and this event allows us to help these chefs do the same.”
The 2020 California Giant Chef Invitational Finalists:
· Adam Walkover, Markon / Gordon Foodservice
o Recipe: Blackberry Sweet Tea Glazed Pork Tenderloin
o Non-profit: Cannonball Kids Cancer
· Robert Stegall-Smith, Performance Foodservice
o Recipe: Petite Grilled Brie Sandwich with Blueberry Hibiscus Jam, White Chocolate and Onion Mole, Sesame Crusted Strawberries, and Berry Salsa Fresca
o Non-profit: Palmetto Place – Children & Youth Services
· Anthony Palermo, Performance Foodservice
o Recipe: Blueberry Pasta Fritta with Raspberry Mascarpone and Crushed Pistachio
o Non-profit: Freedom Service Dogs of America
· Chris Desens, Performance Foodservice
o Recipe: Warm Blueberry Gooey Butter Cake with Lemon Ricotta Sherbet and Mixed Berries
o Non-profit: No Kid Hungry
· Sam Blackburn, Sodexo
o Recipe: Pan Seared Pacific Halibut with Spicy Pickled Strawberries, Fermented Blueberry Bacon Fried Quinoa and Blackberry Mushroom Sauté
o Non-profit: Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation
· Bill Barker, Markon / Gordon Foodservice
o Recipe: Tres Berry Cakesicles
o Non-profit: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
These submitted recipes were re-created by chef and wellness expert and two-time cookbook author, Marie Reginato, who documented the process with video and photos that are posted on the website for viewers to consider when voting for the People’s Choice winner.
“The next several weeks will be an incredible opportunity for us to showcase these wonderful chefs and promote the talent and ingenuity that they all continue to bring to the table for this event year after year,” said Smith. “One of the greatest rewards from this event over the past several years has been the camaraderie and community that has developed around it. Although the platform has changed from previous years, our commitment and focus on making it great remains the same,” he added.