Professional Chefs to Battle in Garlic Showdown on July 30

2017 Gilroy Garlic Festival
July 28, 29 and 30, 2017



Professional Chefs to Battle in Garlic Showdown on July 30

July 21, 2017 (Gilroy, CA): Professional chefs will face off in the iron chef-style Garlic Showdown cooking competition at high noon on Sunday, July 30, at the 39th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. Each contestant will have to prepare two entrees and side dishes using a top-secret ingredient (along with plenty of garlic, of course). The winner will receive a $3,000 prize. Food Network superstar Giada De Laurentiis will emcee the event on the Garlic Cook-Off Stage.

Michael Fisher is the 2016 reigning Garlic Showdown champion and the Owner and Executive Chef of Fisher’s Delicatessen and Catering in Hollister, California, which was recently recognized as “Best of San Benito County.” A Hollister native, Fisher started his career working as a dishwasher and busboy. He quickly fell in love with the hustle and bustle of the business, especially the kitchen. When he turned 19, Fisher flew himself to Paris, France to attend Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy. After completing his formal culinary education, Fisher spent 5 years working with luxury hotels across the United States until he decided he was ready to move his experience into fine dining. He continued on learning from world-class chefs such as Cal Stamenov (Marinus, Carmel Valley, CA) and Daniel Boulud (Daniel, New York City). In 2014, he decided to follow his heart and establish his talents in Hollister. Fisher’s Catering began showcasing local products in both casual and refined menus.

Jeff Raby is the Owner/Chef at Fire 4 Hire Catering, known as one of the premier off-premise caterers in the South Bay Area. Fire 4 Hire Catering has an established reputation for exceptional food, creativity, and presentation combined with outstanding service. With a custom-designed “restaurant on wheels,” Fire 4 Hire serves hot, fresh food that is cooked on-site and served straight from the grill to the plate. His Sous Chef Justen Rood was born in Milwaukee but grew up in Germany and completed his culinary education in the wine region of Rheinland-Pfalz before embarking on a career that took him through Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, and finally back to the U.S. Justen is now the Executive Chef at Fire 4 Hire.

Carlos Pineda is the Program Manager for the Culinary Academy and Kneaded Bakery at Rebekah Children’s Services. Born and raised in Gilroy, after high school he graduated from the Professional Culinary Institute in Campbell in 2007. After his experience interning at the Inn at Spanish Bay with the Pebble Beach Company as a pastry cook, he went on to work as Executive Baker in Monterey, Los Angeles and Gilroy. He was also the Executive Pastry Chef at Fuzia Restaurant in Morgan Hill. In 2010 he transitioned into Rebekah Children’s Services in Gilroy, where he helped develop their Culinary Academy. This program allows students to learn hands-on culinary skills in a commercial kitchen. In addition, students develop job-readiness skills in a safe, structured, and caring environment that will prepare students for the demands and responsibilities of adult-hood, independent living, and the real work world.

Dave Bozzo (“Boz”) is the head chef and caterer at the Gilroy Elks Lodge on the Hill. A restaurateur for over 20 years, Dave was the former operator of Bozzo’s and Gilroy Grill restaurants. His Sous Chef, Don DeLorenzo (“DeLo”), is a PGA Golf Professional by day and an amateur chef by night. He can often be found cooking delicious meals for his large Italian family, using old recipes handed down from his mother and adding a new modern twist. Together, Dave and Don have been delighting the crowds at the Gilroy Garlic Festival for over 10 years as the “DayGo Brothers.” Their light-hearted cooking demos and competitions always attract large crowds of hometown Gilroy friends and family. The DayGo Brothers are currently the Gourmet Alley chefs in charge of the delicious Pepper Steak Sandwiches.

The format of the Garlic Showdown is similar to popular TV cooking competitions like Iron Chef. Each chef has to use a top-secret ingredient (not revealed until the competition begins) to prepare two entrees and side dishes. A panel of judges will determine the winner based on presentation, originality, flavor, texture, and use of the “secret ingredient.” The winner earns a $3,000 prize. Judges for the 2017 competition include Gloria Melone (local chef and wife of Festival Co-Founder Rudy Melone), Bill Christopher (Owner & CEO, Christopher Ranch), Ken Christopher (Christopher Ranch), Dave Reynolds (2016 Gilroy Garlic Festival President), and Angela Greenwood (South County Jeep, Chevrolet).

The 2017 Gilroy Garlic Festival, presented by Raley’s, Bel Air and Nob Hill Foods, will run from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, July 28-30, at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy, California. Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors 60+, $10 for youths ages 10-16, and free for children under age 10. Parking is $10 per vehicle and includes shuttle buses to and from the Festival entrance. Gates close at 6:00 pm.

Discount tickets are available online at and at any Raley’s, Bel Air, and Nob Hill Foods.



About the Gilroy Garlic Festival
The 39th Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival will be held July 28, 29, and 30, 2017, at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy, California. Presented by Raley’s, Bel Air, and Nob Hill Foods, this annual event draws tens of thousands of guests from around the world for a three-day celebration of great garlicky food, live entertainment, and fun for the whole family. Discount tickets are available online at and at Raley's, Bel Air, and Nob Hill Foods stores.

Media Contact: Katherine Filice 408.710.8066