Nutty Chef Competition

Back by popular demand, the 2018 California Nut Festival will feature a lively and fun “Nutty Chef Competition” in the crowd-favorite California Olive Ranch cooking demo area. Festival attendees will be able to sit back and enjoy watching a culinary contest that highlights the ingenuity of three local chefs all competing for the honor of being named the 2018 Nutty Chef.

As a part of the friendly contest, each chef will receive 30 minutes to prepare a delightfully delicious dish of their choice in front of the live audience. Each chef will be allowed to bring ingredients of their choice but they will be given a number of secret ingredients that they will need to creatively incorporate into their special dish.

After a taste test, a panel of judges will select the winner who will be announced at the festival. Plus, there will be an opportunity for the audience to ask questions of the talented local chefs. Please plan your day to join the fun in this unique and nutty way!

Cooking Demo Schedule

Nathan Johnson of Tin Roof Bakery & Café

1 p.m.
Jorge Vasquez of OHBees Hive Beestro

2 p.m.
Juan Z. Ramirez, Two Twenty Restaurant

2:45 p.m.
2018 “Nutty Chef” Winner Announced

Ample seating is available; arrive early, sit back and enjoy the cooking presentations!

2018 Competitors

  • Chef Jorge Vasquez

    Chef Jorge Vasquez

    Executive Chef, OHBees Hive

  • Chef Nathan Johnson

    Chef Nathan Johnson

    Tin Roof Bakery & Cafe

  • Chef Juan Z. Ramirez

    Chef Juan Z. Ramirez

    Two Twenty Restaurant

Jorge Vasquez, OHBees Hive

Executive Chef Jorge Vasquez leads the culinary operations at the OHBees Hive Beestro, which reflects a seasonal living cuisine. Jorge is a local, graduate of Orland High School and of the California Culinary Institute. His first job in the restaurant business was working in the kitchen at Sierra Nevada. From there, he evolved into being the executive chef at Rawbar then later at Farwood. In his leisure time, Jorge enjoys crafting beer.

Nathan Johnson, Tin Roof Bakery & Cafe

Chef Nathan Johnson has been in the food Industry for over 22 years. He has helped with the opening and menu design of Chico’s wine destination Wine Time as well as opening his own restaurant The Kitchen Table (which closed in 2015). Chef Nathan believes in supporting local farmers and letting local-seasonal ingredients design and inspire menus. Recently, he has taken over the chef position at Tin Roof Bakery which is focused on using fresh local ingredients with everything being prepared daily by their dedicated and talented culinary team.

Juan Z. Ramirez, Two Twenty Restaurant

Chef Juan Z. Ramirez began his experience as a cook at the age of 16 and is proficient with many different cuisines. With his classically trained expertise, he has mastered a bit of every cuisine -- Mexican, Italian, East Indian, Asian, classic American and Japanese (his favorite). Chef Juan is head chef at Two Twenty Restaurant, which is located inside the historic Diamond Hotel in downtown Chico, where he uses his passion and culinary artistry to create an extensive line of delicious dishes.

2017 Competitors

2017 "Nutty Chef" Winner: Chef Jeremy Haley

  • Chef Jeremy Haley

    Chef Jeremy Haley

    Executive Chef, Enloe Catering

  • Chef James Taylor

    Chef James Taylor

    Owner & Chef, Sicilian Cafe

  • Chef Jedidiah Amendola

    Chef Jedidiah Amendola

    Jedidiah Amendola, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

California Nut Festival Celebrity Chefs from Previous Years

  • 2016

    Chef Michael Iles

    Chef Micheal
    Executive Chef Micheal Iles of Two Twenty Restaurant in Chico

  • 2016

    Chef Michael Thiemann

    Chef Michael
    Owner & Executive Chef Michael Thiemann of Mother & Empress Tavern Restaurants

  • 2016

    Chef David Gomez

    Chef David
    Owner & Executive Chef David Gomez of Roots Catering & Restaurant in Chico

  • 2015

    Ashurina "Chef Rina" Younan
    Three-time Food Network Champion

  • 2014

    Jay Veregge
    Executive Chef from Old Sacramento’s Ten22

  • 2013

    Kurt Spataro
    Executive Chef of Paragary’s Restaurant Group

  • 2012

    Patrick Mulvaney
    Owner of Mulvaneys B&L

  • 2011

    Michael Touhy
    (formerly) of The Grange restaurant