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Asparagus Festival launches Chef of the Fest competition
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STOCKTON - Always working to keep things fresh and offer something new, Stockton Asparagus Festival organizers have revamped the old Celebrity Kitchen presentation in the Civic Auditorium. It is now “Chef of the Fest.”

Coordinated by Mark Berkner and his San Joaquin Delta College Culinary department, the new attraction will present some of the same cooking demonstrations featuring the green spear, but “Chef of the Fest” will take spectators to a whole new level with the introduction of a chefs’ competition, both pro and amateur.

Interested amateur chefs are invited to fill out an entry form and submit recipes for one appetizer and one entrée to be judged by a panel of three food industry judges. Asparagus must be a major ingredient and recipes must be original by the contestant. Eight qualifying contestants will be chosen to compete. Preliminary competitions will occur on Friday and Saturday, with the final competition between winners on Sunday. The first place finalist will walk away with $500 and bragging rights, and second place will be awarded $250. Full rules and regulations, as well as entry forms are available online at,

The Pro Chef Competition will pit the last two years Charter House Chef Challenge winners against each other in a cook-off on Sunday afternoon. Ruben Larrazolo, chef/owner of Alebrijes Mexican Bistro & Catering will compete against Richard Hyman, chef/owner of Mezzo. Winner will be awarded $1,000, with second place taking $500.

There will be pro chef demonstrations all three days featuring Chef James Ablett, Chef of Taste Restaurant in Plymouth on Friday; Chef Kenneth Bunns of Twin Rivers Unified School District on Saturday; and Chef Eric Davis of Valley Brew in Stockton on Sunday.

Delta College Culinary Arts Student Chefs will offer a demonstration Sunday morning, as well as cook up the recipes of the amateur chef competitors on Friday and Saturday to give samples to observers in the audience.

The 2012 Festival, the 27th annual, will be held April 27th, 28th and 29th. For more information, contact the Festival office at 644-3740, or visit the website at