Traditional Rivals Stoke the Flames In 1st Garlic Bowl

The University of California, Berkeley; Fresno State and San Jose State have accepted invitations to participate in the inaugural Garlic Bowl July 26, Gilroy Garlic Festival Association President Dennis Harrigan announced today.

The unprecedented intercollegiate competition between historic rivals from the Pac-12 and Mountain West Conferences will pit the executive chefs from each of the schools in a cooking jamboree on the opening day of the 35th Gilroy Garlic Festival.

“We are delighted to create such a formidable matchup in the first year of what we anticipate will become a summer tradition,” Harrigan said at a press luncheon attended by the captains of the three participating teams.

Regarded as the “Rose Bowl of food festivals”, the Garlic Festival, presented by Raley’s, Bel Air and Nob Hill Foods, will entertain over 100,000 visitors at Christmas Hill Park here July 26-28.

Harrigan enthusiastically addressed the level of competition the initial Garlic Bowl will generate.

“We are taking intercollegiate competition to the next level,” Harrigan said. “This is not your father’s ‘one on one’ battle. This will be a jamboree, where three historic rivals will battle simultaneously on the same field of play. And while traditional matchups such as the Rose, Cotton and Sun Bowls tender fixed guarantees for each school, the Garlic Bowl will offer the winning team a graduated top prize.”

Kick-off is slated for 2 p.m. on July 26 in the Festival’s Cook-Off Theater. Each team will have one hour to prepare, plate and serve two dishes-- each recipe incorporating six cloves of fresh garlic-- to a panel of five judges.

The victorious team will receive a $5,000 cash scholarship for its institution.

Harrigan spoke at a luncheon hosted by college football Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Joe Starkey, the longtime voice of Pac-12 and Cal football. The duo introduced the team captains:

  • University of California, Berkeley: Executive Chef Mary Ferrer;
  • Fresno State: Executive Chef Erik Debaude;
  • San Jose State University: Executive Chef Michele Rogers.