The top seven contenders will move on to the Smackdown on September 8 to battle it out at The Bridge at the Santa Fe Brewing Co. in front of a panel of local celebrity judges.
The esteemed judges are:
Cheryl Alters Jamison
Four-time James Beard award-winning author Cheryl Alters Jamison has written some 20 books, many focused on the cooking of New Mexico or the American Southwest, as well as being one of the country’s foremost authorities on grilling and barbecue. She created the New Mexico Tourism Department’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail and is the Culinary Editor of New Mexico Magazine.
Since 2008, the tagline on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog has invited visitors to “Follow the Culinary Ruminations of New Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite.” To date, nearly 1 million visitors have trusted Gil Garduno’s recommendations on 1,060 restaurant reviews. Though Gil has no formal culinary education, he has developed a refined palate and is a certified Kansas City Barbecue Society judge. When he’s not reviewing restaurants or judging food competitions, Gil is a programmer analyst at the University of New Mexico.
Honey LeMoyne Yohalem was born in New Orleans. She began working in her parents restaurant kitchen when she was tall enough to reach the counter. After several acclaimed New Orleans restaurants of her own, she relocated to Santa Fe after hurricane Katrina. The opening of her Santa Fe version of LeMoyne’s Landing received 3 stars from the Albuquerque Journal, Restaurant of the Year from the Santa Fe Reporter, and most exciting new restaurant in Local Flavor. She currently manages Il Piatto with her husband and does Cajun creole catering.
Cindy Barreras is a fifth generation Native Santa Fean, born and rasised on Palace Avenue. In her thirty years in the food service industry, she has owned two restaurants and was the general manager of four other restaurants in Santa Fe. Barreras was the runner up in 2005 in the Local Flavor magazine for her red and green chile and she made it to the Finals in the Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown in 2015.
In a perfect world, everyone would have the loving personality, compassion, and passion for food that is the foundation of who Carlos Zozaya is. Anyone that knows Carlos can attest to his loving energy and tenacity for food, family, and fun. As a culinary graduate in Tuscon Arizona, Carlos was among the top of his class winning their “Iron Chef” competition while maintaining his role as class president. Inspired by his grand mother at a young age, cooking was instilled in his heart as he later became a personal chef while running multiple catering events for various celebrities before returning to his roots here in New Mexico to further his culinary career. Carlos is currently a guide for Food Tour New Mexico and is part of the amazing culinary team at Meow Wolf.