2021 FINALISTS

Chef And Dish Mary Grace

MARY GRACE VIADO

Birmingham, AL

A native of the Philippines, Mary graduated cum laude with a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from the University of the Philippines. She landed an amazing opportunity with the Bistro Restaurant Group in Manila and worked her way up to Corporate Chef in three years.

She moved to the United States to attend the Culinary Institute of America, where she graduated top of her class. Mary continued to fine-tune her culinary reputation by staging at several top New York restaurants, including Restaurant Daniel, Aquavit, Le Cirque 2000, Aureole, Payard Patisserie and Bistro, Café des Artistes and Le Bernadin. Mary has also worked at the Four Seasons in Atlanta before joining the Village Tavern in 2002. She served as the executive chef for the restaurant in Birmingham, AL before being promoted to Corporate Executive Chef in 2008.

Mary continues to hone her culinary knowledge and skills. She is a graduate of the 2014 Culinary Enrichment & Innovation Program of The Culinary Institute of America and Hormel Foods and was the recipient of the 2015 James Beard Foundation’s Jean-Louis Palladin Professional Scholarship.

CAL-MEX

WINNER

RECIPE: MEXI-CALI SHRIMP SCAMPI

Mary Grace's entry features cubes of blackened California panela and is served with homemade arepas.

mary-grace-viado-dish
Chef And Dish Gina

GINA GALVAN

San Juan Capistrano, CA

Gina Galvan is a leading food innovator and thought leader who has led hospitality R&D efforts with large chains Yum Brands Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, BJ’s and Carlton plus many mid-size chains including Quaker Steak, Pick Up Stix, Taco Johns, Del Taco and Rubio’s Coastal Grill. As a chef and development specialist, Gina has a successful track record of creating iconic foods with a global impact of over $2 Billion across 100 countries. Gina launched Mood For Food in 1999, a consulting firm specializing in the launch of new products and menu items, providing hands-on manufacturing and formulation expertise. Gina launched award winning Chomp Chomp Nation, a celebrity food truck that was featured on Diner’s, Drive-In’s and Dives on Food Network and The Cooking Channel..

CAL-MEX

RUNNER UP

RECIPE: SURF & TURF TORTA

Gina's dish brings inspiration from family travels to Ensenada. Her entry is made with California panela cheese and lobster, grilled in adobo butter, skirt steak, chorizo, and California cotija cheese fries.