The 35th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival from July 26-28, 2013 includes former Top Chef contestant Carla Hall (now on ABC-TV’s “The Chew”), country singer Charlie Worsham, an increased grand prize for the garlic cook-off, and lots of delicious food for sale.
The garlic cook-off takes place Saturday July 27 with eight amateur chef finalists competing for $5,000 — just a couple years ago, the prize was only $1,000. The finalists are from near and far, including Morgan Hill, CA (Chardonnay, Dijon, Garlic and Herb Basted Rotisserie Leg of Lamb served with Roasted Garlic Tapenade and Quinoa Tabouli) and Hawaii (that finalist is preparing Mahi-mahi Laulau with Shiitake Risotto). Hundreds of chefs send in their recipes ahead of time – some as early as December – and the eight finalists come to the festival and prepare their recipes in front of a live audience.
Worsham’s performance is also on Saturday (at 1:30 p.m.), and he is just one of 44 concerts on three stages over the three-day event.
The Gilroy Garlic Festival includes lots of other activities besides Saturday’s competition; see web site for details. Two events of note: Friday, July 26 at 2pm is the debut Garlic Bowl, a cooking contest between chefs from Fresno State, San Jose State, and UC Berkeley, and Sunday July 28 at noon is the Garlic Showdown hosted by Carla Hall, where four professional chefs battle for top billing. Following that battle, Chef Hall will conduct a cooking demo.
The “Gourmet Alley” is open all three days. It features cooking demonstrations and many foods for sale including garlic bread, garlic chicken wings, garlic fries, sweet potato fries, BBQ pulled pork pizza, garlic scampi, and garlic ice cream. Interesting statistics: at the 2012 festival, dishes sold included approximately 5,000 servings of scampi plus more than 12,000 servings of garlic bread and more than 13,000 servings of garlic fries.
Parking is free. Discount tickets ($2 off) are available at Raley’s, Bel-Air and Nob Hill locations throughout Northern California as well as online at http://gilroygarlicfestival.com. Online ticket purchases also give buyers a $2 discount on Gourmet Alley Combo Plates.
35th Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival
Christmas Hill Park, Gilroy, CA
Friday, Saturday and Sunday
July 26, 27, & 28, 2013
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily
Tickets: Adult $17, Children (ages 6-12) & Seniors (60+) $8, Kids under 6 are free