Garlic Chef Jr. Debuts at Gilroy Fest - NBC Bay Area
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Garlic Chef Jr. Debuts at Gilroy Fest

It's a first for the mega Gilroy Garlic Festival: Youth cooks go for a top spot.

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    It's a first for the mega Gilroy Garlic Festival: Youth cooks go for a top spot. Cheer on the culinary stars of tomorrow on Friday, July 27. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

    IF YOU'RE MAD FOR GARLIC, and you're up on your Gilroy traditions, and you can thoroughly discuss the summertime sizzler of a festival, through and through, you can likely recall some of the dozens upon hundreds of recipes that have played a piquant part in the festival's famous cooking competitions since 1979. So many chicken dishes and succulent pastas and hearty soups and elegant soufflés and even the occasional dessert have made memorable impressions on both the judges at the festival and those home cooks who seek to try out the winning entries later on. And yet? There hasn't ever been a cooking contest at the festival that's devoted strictly to those cuisine-making artists under the age of 18, but that's all about to change at the 2018 garlic gathering. Youth cooks will have their day in the sun at the 40th annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, or, rather, on the stage, while wielding peelers and mincing devices and all of the implements one might need to create a great garlic-centered entrée, appetizer, or sweet.

    FRIDAY, JULY 27... is when Garlic Chef Jr. will take the spotlight, and the main rule is as clear as a clove is spicy: "Each contestant must create one baked or grilled dish containing at least six cloves of garlic within two hours." Can a participant have an adult sous chef at her or his side? Yes, that's allowed, if the competitor wishes. Will "taste, appearance, creativity, and use of garlic" all fold into the judges' final assessment? You bet. Will the prize be five hundred bucks? It will be, oh yeah. Shaun O'Neale, winner of "Master Chef" season 7, will serve as the master of ceremonies, making for an exciting day for these aspiring, garlic-fancying cooks. Cheer them on, while there, or let your favorite under-18 chef know that this is happening ahead of the festival. How to contact the organizers regarding entry? And what to provide? All straightforward stuff and all right here.