Cooking Events


Bigger - Better - Bolder

In 2017, we are excited to welcome Food Network superstar Giada De Laurentiis and MasterChef Season 7 winner Shaun O'Neale to the Garlic Cook-Off Stage. Don't miss out on the chance to see some of the culinary world's brightest stars in person!

See below for the complete 2017 Cook-Off Stage schedule. Click on the links below for more information about the different competitions:



Friday July 28, 2017
Master of Ceremonies: Jason Gronlund
Executive Chef and three-time Garlic Showdown winner
10:30 am Garlic Discussion Q&A
Brian Jones, OLAM Garlic Production Manager
11:00 am Celebrity Chef: Dewey Lucero
From Wild Groves Olives
12:00 pm Gourmet Alley Demo
John Vickroy prepares the Shrimp Scampi from Gourmet Alley, the heart of the Gilroy Garlic Festival
1:00 pm Celebrity Chef: Miriam Vega
Executive Chef-Owner of La Nina Perdida
2:00 pm Champions for Charity
Master of Ceremonies: MasterChef Season 7 Winner Shaun O'Neale
Four teams of local first responders (including firefighters and EMTs) will compete for a prize of $3,000 to be donated to the charity of their choice. This will be an elimination cook-off that starts with an appetizer for all 4 teams, main dish for 3 teams and a dessert for the 2 remaining teams.


2017 Contestants and Charities:

2017 Judges:

  • Jason Gronlund, Executive Chef and three-time Garlic Showdown Winner
  • Gene Sakahara, SakaBozzo
  • Sam Bozzo, SakaBozzo
3:45 pm GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ Official Record Presentation
Representatives from GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS will officially recognize the Gilroy Garlic Festival as the record holder for Largest attendance at a garlic festival
4:00 pm Champions for Charity Winner Announced
MasterChef Season 7 winner Shaun O'Neale
4:30 pm Gourmet Alley Demo
Gourmet Alley Chef Anthony Kilmer shows how to make the delicious Gilroy Garlic Festival Sausage Sandwich



Saturday July 29, 2017
10:00 am Great Garlic Cook-Off
Masters of Ceremonies: Shaun O'Neale and Wendy Brodie

Eight non-professional chefs from across the country prepare their own original garlic recipes for the chance to win $5,000 and the coveted garlic crown.Judges:

  • Jeff Raby, Chef/Owner, Fire4Hire Catering
  • Jason Gronlund (Executive Chef, three-time Garlic Showdown winner)
  • Benjamin Brown (Executive Chef, The Lodge at Pebble Beach)
  • Adam Sanchez (Chef/Owner, The Milias Restaurant)
  • Bryan Martinez (Culinary Director, Brunswick/Bowlero)
2:00 pm Great Garlic Cook-Off Winners Announced
Shaun O'Neale and Wendy Brodie
Afternoon Master of Ceremonies: Jason Gronlund
Executive Chef and three-time Garlic Showdown winner
2:30 pm Celebrity Chef: Shaun O'Neale
MasterChef Season 7 Winner
3:30 pm Adam Sanchez and Anne Zyburra
Chefs/Owners of The Milias Restaurant in Gilroy
3:30 pm Shaun O'Neale Cookbook Signing
4:30 pm Gourmet Alley Demo
Alley Chef Don DeLorenzo shows how to make the famous Festival Pepper Steak Sandwich
5:00 pm Great Garlic Cook-Off Winner
The winner of the 2017 Great Garlic Cook-Off will prepare the winning dish for the Food Network
5:30 pm Gourmet Alley Demo
Craig Miner shows how to make the brand-new dish on Gourmet Alley: delicious deep-fried Gilroy Garlic Shrimp
6:00 pm Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge Winners
Winners of the KCBS-sanctioned Gilroy Garli-Que BBQ Challenge will be announced.


Sunday July 30, 2017
Morning Master of Ceremonies: Ed Sauceda
10:00 am Celebrity Chefs: Gloria Melone and John Melone
The family of Gilroy Garlic Festival founder Rudy Melone share favorite recipes
12:00 pm Garlic Showdown
Master of Ceremonies: Giada De Laurentiis
Professional chefs compete in an Iron Chef-style contest for $3,000 and the ultimate bragging rights.Contestants:

  • Michael Fisher (Owner/Executive Chef, Fisher's Delicatessen & Catering  and 2016 Garlic Showdown champion)
  • Dave Bozzo and Don Lorenzo (Chefs/Owners, Gilroy Grill Catering)
  • Jeff Raby (Chef/Owner, Fire4Hire Catering)
  • Carlos Pineda (Chef, Culinary Academy and Kneaded Bakery, Rebekah Children's Home)


  • Gloria Melone (Local chef and wife of Festival Co-Founder Rudy Melone)
  • Bill Christopher (Owner & CEO, Christopher Ranch)
  • Ken Christopher (Christopher Ranch)
  • Dave Reynolds (2016 Gilroy Garlic Festival President)
  • Angela Greenwood (South County Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat)
2:00 pm Garlic Showdown Winner Announced: Giada De Laurentiis
2:15 pm Celebrity Chef: Giada De Laurentiis
Emmy-award-winning celebrity chef, author, and Food Network superstar Giada De Laurentiis will prepare one of her favorite garlic-laced dishes and hold a Q&A with the audience.
3:15 pm Garlic Discussion Q&A
Brian Jones, OLAM Garlic Production Manager

For all three days of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, you'll find exciting competitions and celebrity chef demonstrations on the state-of-the-art Garlic Cook-Off Stage.