Discount tickets for the Gilroy Garlic Festival are available to Red Wavers who want to show the Fresno State’s Garlic Bowl chef  team support Friday. The promo code at the Garlic Festival ticket website is “GoDogs.”


Fresno State Executive Chef Erik Debaude and his sous chef, alumnus  Bryan Kramer, square off this week against chefs from two other universities in a new garlic competition at the 35th Gilroy Garlic Festival‘s Cook-Off Theater.

The Fresno State team competes in the inaugural Gilroy Garlic Festival Garlic Bowl 2-4 p.m. Friday, July 26, against chefs from University of California, Berkeley and San Jose State University.

Regarded as the “Rose Bowl of food festivals,” the Gilroy Garlic Festival expects more than 100,000 visitors at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy July 26-28. It is presented by Raley’s, Bel Air and Nob Hill Foods.

The garlic competition is new this year and teams have one hour to prepare, plate and serve two dishes — each incorporating six cloves of fresh garlic — to a panel of five judges.

The Bulldog team plans to use student products from the Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market at Fresno State for some of its ingredients.

The victorious team receives a $5,000 cash scholarship for its educational institution. The other teams get $1,000 in scholarships. In addition to bragging rights as garlic bowl champions, the winners receive a perpetual trophy to display for the year and will be invited to defend their title next year.

Dennis Harrigan, Gilroy Garlic Festival Association president, said the unprecedented intercollegiate competition between historic rivals from the Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences will take intercollegiate competition to the next level.

“This is not your father’s ‘one-on-one’ battle’,” Harrigan said. “This will be a jamboree where three historic rivals will battle simultaneously on the same field of play. And while traditional matchups such as the Rose, Cotton and Sun bowls tender fixed guarantees for each school, the Garlic Bowl will offer the winning team a graduated top prize.”

Dan Rusanowsky, the voice of the San Jose Sharks, serves as host.

Debaude said the recipes for the two dishes his team will prepare are confidential until after the competition when they will be presented in the 2013 Cook-off Cookbook that will be sold at the festival.

But he indicated they will be true Bulldog dishes with Fresno State sweet corn and olive oil from the Gibson Farm Market.

The two dishes are “Fresno State Corn and St André stuffed Crêpes with

Tarragon and Lavender Garlic Cream Sauce” and “Seared Duck Breast with Red Currant Sauce, Garlic Purple Mash Potatoes with Beet Croustillant, Stuffed Fig with Chive and Garlic Goat Cheese.”

“Bryan and I are looking forward to representing Fresno State and bringing that first Garlic Bowl trophy to the Valley,” Debaude said. “Our goal is to help put Fresno State on the culinary map.”

Debaude’s 15-year culinary career began after graduation with honors in 1999 from Ecole Jean Ferrandi Culinary School in Paris, where he was born and raised. He spent the majority of his time at a French restaurant his parents owned, acquiring a love for the culinary arts at an early age.

At 18, he served an apprenticeship at Guy Savoy Gastronomic Restaurant in France and learned the skills necessary for fine dining cuisine. He came to the United States in 1999 and began his career with the Ritz Carlton in Naples, Florida. He also worked in Florida as sous chef for The Golf Club Restaurant in Venice and sauté chef/line cook for Lakewood Ranch Country Club in Bradenton before coming to Fresno in 2008 as executive sous chef at Community Regional Medical Center.

He joined University Dining Services at Fresno State in 2009, serving as executive chef for Save Mart Center.  He was recently promoted to executive chef for all of Fresno State’s dining operations when long-time university executive chef Steve Fernandez retired.

“It was actually Steve’s idea that we compete in this inaugural event,” said Debbie Adishian-Astone, associate vice president for Auxiliary Operations.  “We are very excited to have the opportunity to participate and proud to showcase the culinary expertise of our dining services team.”

Kramer started his culinary career working for Rossi’s Pizzeria at Fresno’s old Farmers Market downtown where he worked his way up to head cook. He earned a bachelor of science degree in Food and Nutritional Sciences at Fresno State in 1997.

Soon after graduation, Kramer started working for University Dining Services at Fresno State and was offered the sous chef position in the catering department. In 2003, he earned Sous Chef certification from the American Culinary Federation.

For ticket info and other details:

Related links:

Garlic Festival press release
Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market
University Dining Services
University Twitter “war”