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California Giant announces Chef Invitational finalists; People’s Choice Winner

California Giant Berry Farms announced its People’s Choice winner and chef finalists of its 2022 Chef Invitational.  

The finalists and their recipes are:   

  • Adrian Day-Murchison of Calavo – Spiced Blueberry Lamb Waffle Burger with Strawberry Feta Tzatziki
  • Derek Seigfried of Gordon Food Service – Blackberry Lamb Kofta
  • Dontre'al Haigler of Denny’s – California Giant Berry Meets the Sea    
  • Jereme Nemeth of Sysco – Berry Brisket Sando

The People’s Choice winner is Robert Stegall-Smith of Performance Foodservice – Giant Berry Pizza with Triple Berry Chipotle Sauce & Strawberry “Pepperoni”

Stegall-Smith will automatically progress to the final in-person round of the competition and take home a $500 cash prize, accompanied by a matching grant to his selected non-profit organization, Palmetto Place Children and Youth Services.

Alongside the People’s Choice winner, four chef finalists will attend an in-person three-day finale event on California’s Central Coast Aug. 29-31. This event will include field tours of California Giant berry fields, meet-and-greets with growers and a grand finale — at which the top chef will be named — all emceed by Michael Muzyk, president of Baldor Foods.

Each of the finalists will compete by re-creating their custom recipe. Ultimately, a panel of judges will select the California Giant Chef Invitational Top Chef based upon four specific criteria: appearance, usage of berries, flavor and creativity.  

The panel of judges includes the previous Chef Invitational Top Chefs: Sam Blackburn from Sodexo, Luis Reyes from Sysco and Travis Peters, chef and restaurant owner. They are accompanied on the judges panel by California Giant Influencer, chef and cookbook author Marie Reginato and Tony Baker, owner and chef at Baker’s Bacon.

“It was incredibly challenging choosing our finalists this year,” said California Giant Director of Sales Tom Smith. “We had an array of impressive, innovative recipe submissions and loved seeing chef participants thinking outside of the box when using fresh berries. I fully expect this to be our best Chef Invitational yet!”

Among the chef participant’s recipe samples at the event, there will be bites and beverages provided by generous local sponsors.

To learn more about the California Giant Chef Invitational visit https://promos.calgiant.com/chef-invitational-2022  

Photo: People’s Choice winner Robert Stegall-Smith of Performance Foodservice and Giant Berry Pizza with Triple Berry Chipotle Sauce & Strawberry 'Pepperoni.'

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