California Giant Berry Farms has announced their second annual Chef Invitational, a nationwide culinary competition inviting foodservice distributor partners to include their top chefs a chance to compete for California Giant Top Chef. Finalists will participate in the Chef Invitational in Monterey this summer to determine the winner.
The 2018 Chef Invitational was held last July featuring recipes using California Giant berries. The company says the 2019 event will provide new opportunities for corporate chefs to use their creativity in competing with both main dishes and desserts featuring combinations of fresh berries. The goal of the promotional program is to further cement relationships with key members of the foodservice industry and recognize their chefs.
2018 "Top Chefs" with winner Luis Reyes at center.
“We are very excited to announce the event in 2019 after the success we had last year. It was such a fun time and we had a lot of great collaboration with our distributor partners and their incredible chefs. This time around we will also have Chef Luis Reyes from Sysco West Coast FL, the 2018 winner, to help share his experience and participate as a mentor at the 2019 event,” says Tom Smith, California Giant Director of Foodservice.”
The 2019 Chef Invitational will go live February 1, 2019 with entry guidelines distributed directly to foodservice partners, through the company e-newsletter and foodservice website. All recipes must be submitted by May 1, 2019 with finalists being announced May 15, 2019. Once the finalists are announced, plans begin for the Chef Invitational event to be held at Tehama Golf Club, in Monterey California on June 25, 2019.
Finalists will travel to Monterey in advance of the Chef Invitational to participate in field tours, educational sessions with growers, and roundtable forums with California Giant Influencers as they share insights into food trends, consumer trends and learn from one another. California Giant said their group of Influencers will work with each chef-developed recipe to create a consumer-friendly version or “hack” to share with followers on their social channels.
“Sharing the Chef Invitational with California Giant Influencers this year adds a new element to the program by creating recipe hacks that we can share with our consumer followers without restricting the creativity of the professional chefs”, says Cindy Jewell, VP of Marketing. “This combination of professional chefs and consumer influencers really expands our reach providing a great opportunity for these two groups to come together and learn from each other, while becoming greater ambassadors for our brand,” Jewell adds.
From the pool of finalists, a selection of the industry’s top chefs will be invited to Tehama Golf Club in Monterey, California June 23 – 25, 2019 where they will each re-create their winning recipes to be presented to a panel of judges for the title of 2019 California Giant Top Chef.