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California Giant Berry Farms announces inaugural Chef Invitational Academy

chef academy california giant

WATSONVILLE, CA – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – California Giant Berry Farms BB #:121061 today announced the launch of the California Giant Chef Invitational Academy, a unique program designed to empower and inspire its past California Giant Chef Invitational winners, while elevating berries as a menu item.  

This immersive, four-day event, held in the greater Portland, Oregon area in mid-July, goes beyond the classroom. The Academy will provide the esteemed chefs – Luis Reyes (Sysco, 2018 winner), Travis Peters (The Parish, 2019 winner), Sam Blackburn (Sodexo, 2020 winner), Derek Seigfried (Gordon Food Service, 2022 winner), and Steven Halliday (Gordon Food Service, 2023 winner) – with a firsthand look at the journey of California Giant berries from field to table through exclusive tours of the company’s blueberry operations. 

The Academy doesn’t stop in the field. Under the guidance of the renowned Chef Rosalyn Darling, the Top Chefs will participate in an exclusive culinary expertise workshop designed to spark fresh inspiration, elevate their culinary skills and promote blueberries as a menu item.  

“We are excited to celebrate the talent of our past Chef Invitational winners,” says Tom Smith, director of sales at California Giant Berry Farms. “The Chef Invitational Academy is an opportunity to foster their ongoing culinary development and provide them with a platform to further hone their craft.”  

The California Giant Chef Invitational is a celebrated event and nationwide culinary competition that calls upon chefs to think outside the box and create innovative, original dishes featuring fresh berries as the hero of the plate. The event has garnered valued brand partnerships with the chef participants and continues to drive fresh berry consumption. Following its quinquennial, The Chef Invitational Academy seeks to celebrate the talent of past winners, while continuing to influence menu development. 

California Giant Berry Farms extends its best wishes to the Chef Invitational Academy participants for an enriching and inspiring experience and shares its gratitude for their partnership and contributions over the past years.  


California Giant Berry Farms delivers the best berry experience for retailers, foodservice and consumers alike by providing an all-season supply of sustainably grown blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries that represent the highest standards for quality, consistency and smiles. Over the last 40 years, California Giant has grown into a global family of people passionate about delivering the berry best. Quality, consistency and community inspire the mission and values that continue to sustain them.