Garlic Chef Jr.

This exciting competition features eight young cooks ages 9 to 18 competing on the Challenge Butter Cook-Off Stage.

Each contestant must create one baked or grilled dish containing at least six cloves of garlic. A panel of expert judges evaluates each dish for taste, appearance, creativity and use of garlic.

This year's competition begins at 2:00 pm on Friday, July 26 on the Challenge Butter Cook-Off Stage and will be hosted by MasterChef Season 9 Winner Gerron Hurt. The winner will be announced at 4:00 pm.


  • Spencer Arpajian (15) | Portola Valley, CA
  • Lucy Fassl (12) | Martinez, CA
  • Rayen Garcia (11) | Gilroy, CA
  • Kaiden Gonzalez (12) | Gilroy, CA
  • Winston James (13) | Gilroy, CA
  • Brandon Makiyama (11) | San Jose, CA
  • Sandra Jissel Martinez (10) | Gilroy, CA
  • Maya Torres (13) | Gilroy, CA


  • Chef Eddie G. | Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race
  • Ann Zyburra | Co-Owner, The Milias Restaurant (Gilroy, CA)
  • Amanda Gomez | KION News Channel 5/46
  • Alexis Higgins | MasterChef Junior Season 3 Contestant, Local Gilroy Junior Chef


  • This competition will include eight (8) amateur Chefs ages 9-18.
  • Each Chef will create one (1) original cooked/baked dish, which must include at least six (6) cloves of garlic. The dish can include sides; however, these are not required. Recipe must be the Chef's OWN, not a version of another recipe. The festival will provide fresh whole garlic, jarred minced garlic, jarred pickled garlic and jarred chopped garlic (no other types of garlic will be permitted).
  • Chefs have a two-hour time period, which includes the plating of dishes for presentation.
  • Chefs will be judged on taste, appearance, creativity, and use of garlic by a panel of three judges.
  • During the competition, the Emcee will be speaking with the Chefs, learning about their dish/method/techniques, interest in cooking, career goals, school academics, and more.
  • Ingredients will be provided by the Chefs. A pantry will be available with a variety of spices, condiments, and staples should the Chef forget an ingredient.
  • One gas-powered cooking range will be provided for each Chef, complete with two four-burner cooktops and one oven, one sink, and prep counter.
  • Chefs are required to bring any specialty cooking equipment, plating, and serving items. Open flame, charcoal-type BBQs are not permitted.
  • Each team must be prepared to serve a panel of three (3) Judges, one (1) for the VIPs, one (1) for the Emcee, and one (1) plate which will be used for display, which is a total of six (6) dishes.
  • Chefs are allowed one (1) adult sous chef (non-professional chef) on stage with them; however, this is not required. The sous chef can only assist the Chef, not take the Chef role of the overall cooking of the recipe (e.g., the sous chef can assist in the preparation of vegetables or stirring contents cooking on stove top, but must take direction from the Chef).
  • The winner will be announced at the end of the competition and presented a gift of value up to $500.

2018 Garlic Chef Jr. contestants with host Shaun O'Neale


  • 2018: Addyson Dell


The 2019 Gilroy Garlic Festival is presented by St. Louise Regional Hospital.