Cooking Events

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

Don't Miss in 2018!

MasterChef Season 7 Winner Shaun O'Neale, Olympic Champion Brian Boitano, and Iron Chef Michael Symon

Live on the Garlic Cook-Off Stage

Click on the links below to learn more about each event:



Friday July 27, 2018
Master of Ceremonies: Shaun O'Neale
MasterChef Season 7 Winner
10:30 am Garlic Discussion Q&A
Brian Jones, OLAM Garlic Production Manager
11:00 am 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.
1:30 pm Champions for Charity Winner Announced (Shaun O'Neale)
2:00 pm Garlic Chef Jr. Cook-Off
A brand-new competition for aspiring young chefs under age 18
4:15 pm Garlic Chef Jr. Cook-Off Winner Announced (Shaun O'Neale)
4:30 pm Celebrity Chef: Shaun O'Neale
MasterChef Season 7 Winner
5:30 pm Dewey Lucero
Wild Groves


Saturday July 28, 2018
10:00 am Great Garlic Cook-Off
Masters of Ceremonies: Brian Boitano 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.

2018 Judges:

  • Adam Sanchez (Chef/Owner, The Milias Restaurant)
  • Annie Smith (Chef for Girl Power 2 Cure, Food Fighters Season 1)
  • Austin Cobb (Executive Chef, The Strand House)
  • Jason Ryczek (Executive Chef, Farallon Restaurant)
  • Jeff Raby, Chef/Owner, Fire4Hire Catering
12:15 pm Great Garlic Cook-Off Winners Announced
Brian Boitano and Wendy Brodie
 12:30 pm Celebrity Chef: Brian Boitano
Olympic Gold Medalist and Food Network star
1:30 pm Adam Sanchez and Anne Zyburra
Chefs/Owners of The Milias Restaurant in Gilroy
2:30 pm Austin Cobb
Executive Chef at The Strand House, Manhattan Beach
3:30 pm Annie Smith
Chef for Girl Power 2 Cure, Food Fighters Season 1
4:30 pm SakaBozzo
Gilroy Garlic Festival past Presidents and longtime cooking duo Gene Sakahara and Sam Bozzo
5:30 pm Jeff Raby
Chef/Owner, Fire 4 Hire Catering


Sunday July 29, 2018
Morning Master of Ceremonies: Michael Symon
10:00 am Local Celebrity Chefs: Gloria Melone and John Melone
The family of Gilroy Garlic Festival founder Rudy Melone share favorite recipes
11:00 am Alexis Higgins
MasterChef Junior Season 3 contestant
12:00 pm Garlic Showdown
Master of Ceremonies: Michael Symon
Professional chefs compete in an Iron Chef-style contest for $3,000 and the ultimate bragging rights.

2018 Contestants:

  • Carlos Pineda (2017 Garlic Showdown Champion; Chef at Culinary Academy/Rebekah Children's Home)
  • Annie Smith (Chef for Girl Power 2 Cure, Food Fighters Season 1)
  • Austin Cobb (Executive Chef at The Strand House)
  • Jason Ryczek (Executive Chef at Farallon Restaurant)

2018 Judges:

  • Gloria Melone (Local chef and wife of Festival Co-Founder Rudy Melone)
  • Bill Christopher (Owner & CEO, Christopher Ranch)
  • Ken Christopher (Christopher Ranch)
  • Mike Zukowski (2017 Gilroy Garlic Festival President)
2:45 pm Garlic Showdown Winner Announced (Michael Symon)
3:00 pm Celebrating 40 Years of Family Fun
Gilroy Garlic Festival Founder Don Christopher
3:30 pm Celebrity Chef: Michael Symon
Iron Chef and Co-Host of "The Chew"
4:15 pm Garlic Discussion Q&A
Brian Jones, OLAM Garlic Production Manager



The Gilroy Garlic Festival exclusively features California-grown garlic.