The 2023 Philabundance Top Guac Challenge judges have spoken, and the winner is… the incredibly talented, Philabundance Community Kitchen (PCK) Special Events Catering Chef, Kai Reynolds!
In celebration of National Avocado Day on July 31st, we teamed up with The GIANT Company and Avocados From Mexico for our 3nd annual Top Guac event, held at PCK. It was an intense race against the clock – 15 quick minutes – to whip up their favorite ingredients to take home the coveted trophy and win serious bragging rights for the best guacamole in Philadelphia!
Chef Kai had his work cut out for him as he went pit-to-pit with the competing chefs, including the 2022 Top Guac champ, Jessica deRivera, Development & Engagement Manager, Billy Penn at WHYY; Cristina Martinez, Owner & Chef, South Philly Barbacoa and Casa Mexico; Crystal Joiner, Dietician, The GIANT Company; and Kai’s fellow colleague Katie Gunter, Philabundance Nutrition Educator.
“Having a competition like this is a cool way to pull in the fun part of Philabundance and PCK,” said Chef Kai. “I like to say I love showing up to work every day and trying to help make a difference and keep people excited about food, about us making food, being able to provide food, and helping us reach out to the community, and we have the opportunity to do that every day along with our students.”
These culinary extraordinaries each incorporated their own secret ingredients, putting unique spins on this delightful Mexican dip, and made choosing just one quite the challenge. Thanks to Karen Rogers, 6ABC Meteorologist; Ryan Fukuda, Avocados From Mexico; and Bob Zimmerman, The GIANT Company for taking on the challenge.
Here’s the dish on their Top Guac experience:
“We’re guac’in on here celebrating National Avocado Day, but really celebrating everything that Philabundance does, and everyone coming to the Community Kitchen,” Karen raved. “I got to eat the best guacamole, but the hardest thing was picking the winner, but Chef Kai did a really great job, and how nice that he is here teaching. He puts a lot of love into his food, and we sure tasted it.”
“Avocados From Mexico, we love to support this event. It’s a great event to celebrate giving back to the community,” Ryan explained. “We did it in partnership with GIANT and Philabundance, and we’re just very fortunate they included us.”
“It was fantastic! Great guac from all the competitors here, the level of excitement, the taste, the different ingredients – an absolute home run!” Bob exclaimed. “So from the bottom of my heart, thank you to everybody for making this happen.”
In addition to the contest, The GIANT Company, in partnership with Avocados From Mexico, donated nearly 60,000 fresh avocadoes to Philabundance which were quickly delivered to communities across the Delaware Valley by our tremendous Transportation Team. Also, GIANT team members lent a helping hand by volunteering at PCK to prepare meals for our neighbors in need.
“We are grateful to The GIANT Company and Avocados From Mexico for their generous avocado donation on National Avocado Day. Top Guac is a fun time for us to celebrate the power of food and partnership while highlighting the need for nutritious food for all,” said Loree D. Jones Brown, Chief Executive Officer at Philabundance. “The avocados donated today will help many in need throughout the communities we serve. Thank you to the contestants for sharing their tasty recipes, and congratulations to our very own Philabundance Community Kitchen Chef, Kai Reynolds, for being named winner of this year’s competition.”
Thanks to all who participated and we can’t wait to GUAC ON again next year!