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, Calavo: Spiced Blueberry Lamb Waffle Burger with Strawberry Feta Tzatziki
- Derek Seigfried, Gordon Food Service: Blackberry Lamb Kofta
- Dontre'al Haigler, Denny’s: California Giant Berry Meets the Sea
- Jereme Nemeth, Sysco: Berry Brisket Sando
The People’s Choice winner is:
- Robert Stegall-Smith, 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.
Left to right: Adrian Day-Murchison, Derek Seigfried, Dontre'al Haigler
Alongside the People’s Choice winner, four chef finalists will attend an in-person three-day finale event on California’s Central Coast from August 29 – 31st. This 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 finalist will compete by recreating their custom recipe. Ultimately, a panel of judges will select the California Giant Chef Invitational Top Chef based upon the four specific criteria – appearance, usage of berries, flavor and creativity.
Left to right: Jereme Nemeth, Robert Stegall-Smith, Michael Muzyk
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.
Click here to learn more about the California Giant Chef Invitational visit.