California Giant Includes Retail Foodservice in 2020 Chef Invitational Competition

WATSONVILLE, Calif. – California Giant Berry Farms is chef-centric in planning their PMA Fresh Summit booth activities at #2961 – with their 2019 Chef Invitational Ambassador top of mind, as well as their 2020 Chef Invitational initiatives. The 3rd annual event will include a retail foodservice category now with partners from both the retail and foodservice sectors invited to participate. 

“We are really looking forward to widening the participation and involvement of the Chef Invitational by extending an invitation to our retail foodservice partners and their chefs to unify and increase the participation from the industry at the 2020 event,” says Director of Foodservice and Organics, Tom Smith. “Our goal each year is to continue to create a dynamic and educational experience both during and after the event for both chefs and representatives, and we are excited for the evolution to come in its 3rd year.” 

The 2nd annual Chef Invitational in June welcomed a new Top Chef and California Giant Ambassador to their community of chef influencers – Tucson native Chef Travis G. Peters with his award-winning Blueberry Sweet Tea Quail in Raspberry Barbecue Sauce over Spicy Black and Blue Brussels with Toasted Pecans and Strawberry Oils.

Not only has the chef and co-owner of The Parish introduced the Chef Invitational winning recipe on his latest menu for his customers to try for themselves, he has created a bold, innovative new menu with no shortage of berries.

“I put berries everywhere! On our new menu we feature berries fresh and pickled in our raspberry dill barbecue sauce, in multiple fermented berry hot sauces, we brine with berries, and have also been infusing berries with various liquors as part of our cocktail program for all 8 years we have been open,” says Chef Travis Peters.

When asked about his favorite berry-inspired dishes – the chef excitedly shared two stand-out recipes. The first being his blueberry pickled red onions that top a giant beef short rib – with a surprising flavor, sweet acidity and intense color – it’s sure to captivate the eyes and taste buds of restaurant patrons.

The second chef-favorite is his award-winning black and blue brussels sprouts introduced at the Chef Invitational competition.

“We fry the brussels sprouts and then toss them in our fermented blackberry and blueberry hot sauce along with fresh herbs and spiced pecans. Because we ferment our hot sauce for several weeks, the berries develop beautiful, funky, tart and sweet notes that go perfectly with the sweet heat of the habanero pepper. Not to mention the deep, dark and intense natural purple hue from the berries. We bottle and sell this hot sauce at the restaurant too, and have a hard time keeping it on the shelves!”

The chef notes that the Tucson culture and his family’s heritage dating back to the 1870s has influenced and inspired his cuisine today.

“Tucson has been fortunate enough to have both immigrant and local influences since its inception. Because of this, Tucson is an amazing melting pot of culture and cuisine, filled with rich, delicious, bold flavors,” says the chef.

In its 3rd year – California Giant Berry Farms is excited to open the culinary competition to both retail and foodservice partners and their chefs to continue to broaden the scope of the event, build upon and strengthen their partnerships, and to continue to encourage innovation of berries on the menu.

To learn more about how to participate next year, visit the California Giant booth #2961 at PMA Fresh Summit to meet Chef Travis Peters and talk with the California Giant team about what to expect at the 2020 Chef Invitational.