Eight Amateur Chefs to Share the Stage with Tom Colicchio at the 41st Annual Great Garlic Cook-Off

2019 Gilroy Garlic Festival
July 26, 27 & 28, 2019



Eight Amateur Chefs to Share the Stage with Tom Colicchio at the 41st Annual Great Garlic Cook-Off

June 25, 2019 (Gilroy, CA): James Beard Award-winning chef, restaurateur, and Top Chef head judge Tom Colicchio will host the 41st annual Great Garlic Cook-Off on Saturday, July 27, 2019. Eight amateur chefs from across the country have been selected as finalists to compete on the Challenge Butter Cook-Off Stage at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, preparing their own original recipes for the chance to win a $3,000 prize and the coveted garlic crown.

This year, half of the finalists hail from the Golden State. Ellen Rivera of Gilroy, CA will have plenty of hometown fans cheering her on as she cooks up her Ribeye Triple Garlic Coconut Rice Bowl with Zippy Sauce. Representing southern California will be Robyn Price from Brea, CA, making CoCoa-Coffee Crusted Garlic & Bacon Cheesecake with Caramel Drizzle; Emily Falke from Santa Barbara, CA, preparing Chilies en Nogada with Roasted Garlic Walnut Sauce; and Merry Graham from Newhall, CA, serving up Garlikcy BBQ Pork Fluffy Japanese Pancake with Strawberry Sritacha Syrup. Graham was also previously a finalist in the 2015 Cook-Off.

Two finalists will be heading south to Gilroy from Oregon. Kim Banick from Turner, OR, will prepare her original recipe for Rolled Greek Ribeye with Garlic Goat Cheese Tzatziki and Pita. Gary Exner from Wilsonville, OR, will hope to wow the judges with his Strawberry Tart with Garlic Shiso Cream and Yuzu Glaze.

The two remaining finalists will have to travel a little further to get to the Garlic Capital of the World. Karen Harris from Littleton, CO will make Stuffed Savory Beef Sopaipillas with Garlic Lime Sofrito. And Pamela Gelsomini from Wrentham, MA will represent the entire east coast with her recipe for Garlicky Clam Clouds topped with Bacon and Arugula Salad.

The Great Garlic Cook-Off recipe contest has been an annual tradition since the very first Gilroy Garlic Festival back in 1979. Per contest rules, each recipe must contain at least six cloves of garlic. Contestants will prepare their dishes in front of Festival guests on the Challenge Butter Cook-Off Stage and present them to a panel of six judges. Each of the dishes will be judged on flavor, texture, creativity, appearance, and use of garlic. The winner is awarded $3,000 and a garlic crown.

Culinary superstar Tom Colicchio, who is head judge on Top Chef, will emcee the Cook-Off and also serve as a judge. The other judges include Jason Ryczek from Farallon Restaurant, San Francisco; Adam Sanchez, owner/chef of The Milias Restaurant and a previous Cook-Off winner; Maurizio Cutrignelli of Osteria al Mare in Monterey and Maurizio's in Morgan Hill; Mark Segovia of Segovia Catering in Gilroy; and Diana Phipps from L'Aubergine Restaurant in Carmel.

The 2019 Great Garlic Cook-Off begins at 10:00 am on Saturday, July 27, on the Challenge Butter Cook-Off Stage. After the winners are announced at 12:15 pm, Tom Colicchio will perform his own cooking demonstration and answer questions from the audience.

For more information, visit gilroygarlicfestival.com.


About the Gilroy Garlic Festival
Presented by St. Louise Regional Hospital, the 41st annual Gilroy Garlic Festival will be on July 26, 27, and 28, 2019, at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy, California. The Gilroy Garlic Festival has been officially certified by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® as the world’s largest garlic festival and draws thousands of garlic-loving guests from around the globe every year. This three-day celebration features gourmet garlicky food, live entertainment, cooking competitions, and fun for the whole family. For more information, go to www.gilroygarlicfestival.com.


Media Contact: Katherine Filice
Phone (408) 710-8066