gmhTODAY 04 gmhToday Sep Oct 2015 - Page 36

Garlic Festival — Local Chefs A nyone who has been around the Gilroy Garlic Festival for the last 37 years knows to expect a surprise or two. There is always something to wake the senses…the sights…the sounds…the smells…the people…the weather. The 2015 Garlic Festival had plenty of “wake-ups.” The weather was perfect, the crowds manageable and the “feel” up beat and positive. One of those events took place on the Cook Off Stage Friday afternoon. Local celebrity chefs Gene Sakahara and Sam Bozzo, the SakaBozzo twins, “separated at birth,” appeared again. This duo has been mixing comedic banter and cooking for twenty-one years. For years the two, one Italian and one Japanese, have combined a rapid-fire fun-loving dialog with some great cooking tips and techniques. But on Friday they might have met their match in a 10-year old St Mary’s student. Alexis Higgins was a contestant on Fox’s Master Chef Junior this last January 2015. Alexis, one of the youngest contestants, did well but was eliminated from the show, but not from cooking appearances. This unique young lady has a remarkable confidence and some pretty significant cooking skills. After a recent tour of Pulmuone Foods (produc- ers of Monterey Gourmet Foods) here in Gilroy she was asked to compete with the in-house chef and to prepare a meal. In deference to her age the planners set out a small chef ’s knife on her workstation. She immediately asked for a “real knife” and proceeded to prepare a delicious entre using some of the Monterey Gourmet Foods products. The consensus in the kitchen that night was that it was too close to call a winner. On stage at the Garlic Festival Alexis joined SakaBozzo in preparing three dishes: Alexis, Garlic Mushrooms, Sam Bozzo, Kale and Italian Sausage, Gene Sakahara, Penne alla Boscaiola. Alexis got assistance from Sam and Gene but also helped the two prepare their dishes. In addition to the food, three things stood out …this kid knows how to cook, she has fun doing it and she can banter with the best of them. SakaBozzo might have more years together on stage than Alexis has age but she stood there strong and confident. SakaBozzo got a real-life, up-close-and-personal taste of the future. Alexis Higgins and SakaBozzo The Start of Something Scrumptious By Larry J. Mickartz 36 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015