Great Garlic Cook-Off

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Great Garlic Cook-Off is one of the most well-known cooking contests in the country. Beginning in September, the Gilroy Garlic Festival puts out a call across the United States and Canada for the best garlic recipes. Hundreds of amateur chefs respond with delicious sounding recipes that run the gamut from soups to desserts and from every type of cuisine.




Olympic figure skating champion and television cook Brian Boitano is no stranger to performing under pressure—and that experience will serve him well as he hosts the Great Garlic Cook-Off at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on Saturday, July 28, 2018.

Brian Boitano will emcee the Great Garlic Cook-Off from 10:00 am to 12:15 pm and then do a cooking demonstration on the Challenge Butter Cook-Off Stage at 12:30 pm, sharing one of his own favorite garlic-laced recipes and answering questions from the audience.

This will be the 40th annual Great Garlic Cook-Off, which started back in 1979 and has grown to become one of the nation’s best-known—and most intense—amateur cooking contests. Eight chefs from around the country will be competing on the Challenge Butter Cook-Off Stage, preparing their own original recipes for the chance to win a grand prize of $5,000 and the coveted garlic crown.

Recent winners have included Garlic Goat Cheese Bacon Soufflé with Creamy Garlic Mustard Sauce; Sarsaparilla Glazed Wild West Burgers and Southwest Sweet Potatoes; and Crispy Pork Belly with Caramelized Onion and Fig Agrodolce and Creamy Polenta.

The most delicious-sounding recipes, approximately 50, are forwarded to a professional food consultant who makes the final selection of the eight recipes. The consultant prepares each recipe to ensure correct measurements and use of ingredients. These finalists' recipes are those considered to make the most interesting and exciting contest.

The finalists come to Gilroy to prepare their recipes on the Saturday of the festival in front of the public and a panel of celebrity judges. Winners are announced at 2:00 pm. The winner of the Great Garlic Cook-Off is appropriately honored with a crown of garlic and the grand prize of $5,000. Second place is awarded $2,500; third place, $1,000. The other finalists are given $100 each.


  • Dianna Wara (Washington, IL): Pineapple & Orange Poached Garlic Tart w/Macadamia Nut Crumb
  • Todd Antepenko (Gilroy, CA): Gilroy Garlic Asian Inspired Baby Back Ribs
  • Gloria Bradley (Naperville, IL): Roasted Garlic Stuffed Fried Chicken, Pesto Mashed Potatoes, Lemogarlic Sauce
  • Will Simbol (NY): Savory Crunchy Freshy Tangy Shrimpy Herby Garlic Lumpia Wrap
  • Leah Lyon (Ada, OK): Amazing Garlic-Chili Buttered Rose' Lobster Tails with Flamenco Pesto
  • Betty Hass (Cupertino, CA): Cookies & Cocktails: Garlic Shortbread and "McGilroy"
  • Lidia Haddadian (Pasadena, CA): Roasted Garlic and Potato Pierogis w/Garlic Shallot Bacon Jam
  • Debbie Reid (Clearwater, FL): Mediterranean Potato Pancake Stacks with Basil Lime Cream

2018 Great Garlic Cook-Off Judges

  • Adam Sanchez: Chef-Owner at The Milias Restaurant, Gilroy
  • Annie Smith: Chef for Girl Power 2 Cure, Food Fighters Season 1
  • Austin Cobb: Executive Chef at The Strand House, Manhattan Beach
  • Jason Ryczek: Executive Chef at Farallon Restaurant, San Francisco
  • Miriam Vega: La Nina Perdida Tastes of Mexico

The application period for 2018 is now closed. Please check back next year if you'd like to enter!