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 play out 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 delightedly 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 four 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. There will be an opportunity to ask questions of the talented local chefs. Please plan your day to join the fun in a new and nutty way!
Executive Chef, Enloe Catering
Owner & Chef, Sicilian Cafe
Jedidiah Amendola, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
2017 "Nutty Chef" Winner: Chef Jeremy Haley
Chef Jeremy is passionate about food and using his creative mind to feed a hungry appetite. With 17 years experience in the food industry, he’s worked his way up from dishwasher to executive chef, and has traveled the world doing what he loves - cooking! Working as a chef in the health care industry provides a unique opportunity to help people by serving hot meals full of essential vitamins and nutrients. By participating in this year’s California Nut Festival, Jeremy hopes to inspire health through nutrition and raise awareness of the importance of good food in the healing process.
When Sicilian Cafe opened in 1984, James's goals were not limited to fantastic food. He aimed to create a mood for patrons that would be unlike any other. His skills may have developed during his time working in the family restaurant, but he has since worked in many other kitchens, gaining a variety of experience with different cuisines. Although he specializes in Italian food, his background allows him to be creative with almost any dish. Today, James strives to source local, organic growers and producers as well as cater to his guests' requests for any necessary alternatives such as gluten-free options and allergy substitutions. With over 40 years of cooking experience in the community, he combines the taste of the Mediterranean with old world hospitality.
Chef Jed joined Sierra Nevada more than five years ago and has been in charge of the culinary operation for the last two years. He joined Sierra Nevada after working at an upscale Italian restaurant named Pianeta in Truckee as a sous chef. Prior to that, he attended and graduated from Butte Culinary Academy in 2004. Given his deep passion for cooking and the culinary arts (and beer of course!), he’s very proud to call Northern California home with such plentiful and agriculture rich surroundings. In fact, he’s always amazed to see all the wonderful varieties of fruit, vegetables, and different proteins grown and produced right here in the North State.
Executive Chef Micheal Iles of Two Twenty Restaurant in Chico
Owner & Executive Chef Michael Thiemann of Mother & Empress Tavern Restaurants
Owner & Executive Chef David Gomez of Roots Catering & Restaurant in Chico
Ashurina "Chef Rina" Younan
Three-time Food Network Champion
Executive Chef from Old Sacramento’s Ten22
Executive Chef of Paragary’s Restaurant Group
Owner of Mulvaneys B&L
(formerly) of The Grange restaurant