Champions for Charity

Local First Responders Compete for Charity

Now in its second year, the "Champions for Charity" challenge will feature teams of local first responder heroes (including firefighters and EMTs) competing in a three-round cooking challenge to win $3,000 for the charity of their choice.

This exciting competition will take place on Friday, July 28 at 2:00 pm on the Garlic Cook-Off Stage. Winners will be announced at 4:00 pm.


Bigger - Better - Bolder

The 2017 Champions for Charity contest will be emceed by MasterChef Season 7 winner Shaun O'Neale—no stranger to cooking under high-pressure situations!

2017 Contestants and Charities:

2017 Judges:

  • Jason Gronlund, Executive Chef and three-time Garlic Showdown Winner
  • Gene Sakahara, SakaBozzo
  • Sam Bozzo, SakaBozzo


If you'd like to compete in this year's contest, please fill out an online application by May 31, 2017.


  1. The competition will include up to four teams of 2 active or retired Law Enforcement, Fire Department, or EMS professionals.
  2. Each team will create dishes in three elimination rounds: Appetizer (20 minutes); Entree (30 minutes); and Dessert (20 minutes).
  3. Garlic must be used in all courses of this competition.
  4. Each round will be judged on taste, appearance, creativity and use of garlic by a panel of three (3) judges.
  5. One team will be eliminated after each round until the final winners are determined based on their dishes from all three rounds.
  6. The winner will be announced the end of the competition and presented a check for $3,000 to their charity.
  7. Each team must select a designated 501(c)3 Non-Profit Charitable Organization prior to the competition.
  8. During the competition, the Host will be speaking with the teams, learning about their dishes/methods/techniques, their agencies, and their charities of choice.
  9. Ingredients will be provided to the teams at the beginning of each round as well as the garlic that is to be featured and highlighted in each course.
  10. A pantry will be available with a variety of spices, condiments and staples. No outside food items will be allowed in this competition.
  11. Two gas-powered cooking ranges will be provided for each team, complete with four-burner cooktops & ovens.
  12. Teams are required to bring any specialty cooking equipment, plating, and serving items. Each team must be prepared to serve 3 total courses to a panel of 3 Judges and a Host (total 4 dishes per course).
  13. Team members must be amateur cooks to ensure a level playing field for all contestants.
  14. Online applications must be submitted prior to May 31, 2017.