Sysco's Jereme Nemeth Talks Recipe Inspiration, Competing, and More Before Chef Invitational

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Thu. June 22nd, 2023 - by Anne Allen

WATSONVILLE, CA - A previous Chef Invitational finalist is back for a chance to claim the title of Top Chef. Jereme Nemeth, Culinary Consultant at Sysco Eastern Shores Region, is back for the second time to compete at California Giant Berry Farms' competition, and he has experience on his side.

Jereme Nemeth, Culinary Consultant, Sysco Eastern Shores Region“I always welcome a good challenge, and I’m confident in what I can do with this dish. I’ve already been once and came home without the top prize,” Jereme shared with me. “This year, I want to have that confidence to go in and maybe, hopefully, bring that top prize home this year. But you’ve got to have humility, and I acknowledge the fact that I’m going against some great competitors. As a chef, you can’t always know everything, and I look forward to learning from some of these other finalists.”

His dish this year is Blackberry Fennel Scallops with Blueberry Risotto.

“I never thought about doing fruit in the risotto, really, and this Chef Invitational made me think outside the box,” Jereme explained. “Risotto is one of those items that can go really great with anything, so I paired it with the scallops. There’s a bit of a science to get a nice sear on a scallop as well, so it flexes that technique muscle. I did the raspberry gastrique, which will bite through some of the fattiness in the risotto, and then my pickled strawberry mustard seeds. They add texture and also add some nice color to the dish.”

Bringing a fusion of flavors, Jereme Nemeth, Culinary Consultant at Sysco Eastern Shores Region, shoots for the title of Top Chef of California Giant Berry Farms’ Chef Invitational

Throughout his career, Jereme has worked his way through the ranks. He’s managed kitchens and opened multiple restaurants before finding his way home at Sysco, where he runs the test kitchen.

All the while, he’s been finding more ways to center produce in dishes.

“You’re able to add color, natural sweeteners, textures, and things of that nature to a dish without using artificial components. I think taking the products in their seasonal best, like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries from California Giant, and especially from growing areas like the Monterey Bay, that’s real key,” he emphasized. “This time of year is when berries are shining, and we have a lot of people that are more prone to put them on their menu.”

I wish Jereme the best of luck at this year’s competition! As we approach the event, watch out for our final coverage of the winner.

California Giant Berry Farms