ORLANDO, Fla. - For a second year in a row, Orlando-based Chef Jason Gronlund, Vice President of Culinary at Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, was the Iron Chef Garlic Showdown Champion at the 35th Annual Gilroy Garlic Festival held on July 26-28 in Gilroy, California. Gronlund wowed judges with “Fire & Ice Calamari” and “Pork Filet with Hash” in his battle against other chefs from across the country.
The Garlic Showdown is a grueling competition pitting top chefs against each other. In the timed event, chefs must create two dishes that include secret ingredients revealed during the contest. This year’s secret ingredients were black garlic, black berries, elephant garlic, roasted garlic, and pickled garlic. The event was hosted by TV Chef and co-host of ABC’s “The Chew,” Carla Hall. Gronlund donated his $5,000 winnings to the American Cancer Society. And over the past 35 years, the festival has raised more than $10 million for charities.
For Gronlund, it was more than just creating great dishes. “Cancer affects so many people,” said Gronlund. “At the end of the event, I asked everyone to stand, then sit if they had cancer or if a family member or close friend had cancer. Only about five percent of the crowd was still standing. It’s troubling, and I am glad that I could contribute to such an important cause as fighting cancer.”
Smokey Bones CEO Christopher Artinian commends Gronlund on his big win. “Jason has elevated our menu with his culinary expertise,” said Artinian. “And in addition to knowing how to create entrees with big flavors, he has a big heart, always finding ways to support important causes.”