2017 SYSCO Education and Demo Stages

Earn your bachelors in bacon!
Join us for bacon breakdown presented by Sysco


Join us Saturday and Sunday for – Sysco’s Demonstration and Education Stages

10:00 am – 4:00 pm daily – stop by and see what new and exciting bacon inspired recipes these talented Sysco Chef’s have cooked up.

Need a quick 30 minute meal – join us for the “Save you Bacon” Segment.

Want a way to get your kids involved and excited about cooking – join us for “Everything is Better with Bacon”.

Want to understand the different cuts of bacon and the best ways to prepare them – our “Makin’ Bacon” spot will make you a Baconista for sure.

How about seeing a Chopped Champion in Action – Our “Bringing Home the Bacon” spot will make you a Champion in your own Kitchen!

All of this and more will be featured on 2 different Sysco sponsored stages at this year’s Baconfest!

A new adventure starts every 45 minutes, it doesn’t matter how you slice it, you won’t want to miss this!



Emcee of Baconfest 2017 Amateur Cooking Contest

Some may say Chef Neil Doherty’s extensive culinary experience is as colorful as a farmer’s market ~ from working in Ireland, England, New York City, Massachusetts and Houston.

At the ripe age of 14, in Ballina, Ireland, Chef Neil started his lifelong journey into a far tastier profession than most. His career began in a quaint farming community working as a kitchen helper in Belleek Castle and on a Market Gardening farm in England. His time spent on the farm is where he cultivated his love for fresh, locally grown produce. After attending culinary school in Galway, he had a degree in hand and a passion for food in heart; Chef Neil chopped, sautéed, and filleted his way through Ireland’s culinary world advancing from Commis Chef to Sous Chef to Executive Chef.

Soon his taste buds were ready to make the voyage to America, landing in New York City. After cooking his way across the country as executive chef in hotels, restaurants and start up kitchens, he ultimately landed the position of Corporate Chef for Sysco Corporation in Houston. At Sysco, Chef Neil has consulted with and influenced restaurant brands big and small, locally and internationally, including Irish & British pubs and numerous Latin concepts. To stay current on trends, techniques and flavors, Chef Neil works with chefs from around the globe. He believes in constant continued education to perfect his craft and expand his knowledge base.

The media took notice of Chef Neil’s lively personality and vast culinary expertise. He has been featured in national and trade magazines, newspapers and TV programs for his creative take on traditional dishes from various ethnic cuisines.

When Neil isn’t in the kitchen you can find him on the rugby pitch, working on his land in the Texas Hill Country and spending time with his family. Signing off as our rugby playing chef would – Cheers & Have a Flavorful Day!



In the early days, 5-year-old Clint Jolly followed his dad around the family’s northern Nevada butcher shop, angling for choice cuts and a turn with the knives.  At 13, Clint was preparing dishes for customers, and gaining the hands-on entrepreneurial experience that eventually would grow the family business into a $10 million empire. Now, Clint is has taken his insatiable curiosity and sense of culinary adventure on the road, in an epic journey to learn why we eat the way we do. “The world provides,” he says. “Every culture has a food story, and every person who prepares it tells their story through the food. ”Believing in the power of food to bring people together to create lasting memories, Clint explores the cultures and culinary stories of the world and brings them back home to share with fellow Nevadans. This discovery of different regions and their local edible offerings deepens his knowledge of the craft, enriching his culinary story telling abilities and allows him to create innovative, tale-telling dishes such as “The Buffalo Who Roamed Too Far,” a bison dish with South American influence. As Clint’s star rises on the national scene, he is still dedicated to mentoring Carson High School culinary students. Under his tutelage, Carson High has won five first place victories in the state’s National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s ProStart Invitational™ restaurant management and culinary arts competition, and taken second nationally. Follow Clint’s epicurean adventures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. His website is www.ClintJolly.com Award winning cuisine:  Finalist, Farm to Table Chef’s Challenge, August 2016. Chopped Champion: Food Network’s Chopped: Impossible Restaurant Challenge, 2016. 2016 Nevada Mentor of the Year, National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s ProStart Invitational™ restaurant management and culinary arts competition celebrating Clint’s work with the Carson High School culinary program.



Sysco Central California Chef Robert West attended Columbia Community College for his culinary degree almost 30 years ago.  Upon graduation, he honed his craft in Hawaii and Santa Cruz before opening his own restaurant in his hometown.  Having owned a restaurant brings an empathetic skill to his Sysco service.  “I’ve been in their shoes” His influence and knowledge allows him to teach the importance of building and maintaining a successful and profitable restaurant.

Being born and raised in the Central Valley of California, Chef Robert has been exposed to all that the region has to offer.  “When I had my restaurant, the menu changed often to reflect the season and take advantage of what each season had to offer.  Chef Robert was exposed to cooking early on.  He remembers standing on a stool next to his Grandmother learning to make everything from scratch.  “We would make jams, jar tomatoes, and set up fresh sweet pickles to name a few”.

Chef Robert enjoys teaching his craft and passion to everyone who wants to learn, especially his son Jimmy.  “He was born during the height of my restaurant, and I can remember him sitting on the cooking line, watching Dad cook!”  Jimmy is going to be assisting him during his Chef Demo on the Sysco Stage during Baconfest this year.  “I’m excited to have him with me, because he loves to cook!”



Robert Root, Corporate Chef for Sysco Central Ca brings over 25 years of talent to the culinary profession. A graduate from the California Culinary Academy and Certified Chef de Cuisine with the American Culinary Federation garnered on the‐job skills at acclaimed restaurants such as Yosemite National Park (Curry Village), Ironstone Vineyards, Aqua in San Francisco, The Estate by the Elderberries Relais and Chateau in Oakhurst, Leftbank in Tiburon and Greystone at The Culinary Institute in St. Helena.

While on the central coast he worked as executive chef at Novo Inn at Morro Bay and Cal Poly State University, father of two children, surfs, and loves to garden. Teamed up with Sunset Magazines Food Editor Margo True at Savor the Central Coasts cooking demo at the Historical Santa Margarita Ranch “Beyond The Chop”, He was the founder of Pallet to Palate, Shake the Hand that Feeds You, a nonprofit organization that promotes the connection of chef and farmer with education to the next generation farmer and to support and sustain local resources.



Joined Sysco Sacramento in 2011 as a marketing associate. Spent a year and a half in sales prior to joining the culinary team.

Prior to joining Sysco, the previous 23 years were spent working in and running kitchens for restaurant groups such as Houston’s/Hillstone, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Chart House, and Paul Martin’s American Grill.

While food and cooking is a passion, years of experience in the corporate restaurant world has led to a vast knowledge of systems and efficiencies.

Utilizing fresh, local ingredients from the bounty that the Sacramento Valley and surrounding areas have to offer is a driving force.



Corporate Executive Chef for Sysco Los Angeles, Chef Ben Udave grew up in a humble and hard working household where home cooked meals were part of his mother’s daily task. This is where his love for food started to evolve into the passion that it is today. After high school Benjamin spent the summer in France eating his way through Chartres, Lyon and Paris. At that point he knew that the culinary world was destined to be his future.

A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena, Benjamin had the privilege to apprentice under Chef Kyle Connaughton – Former Head Chef of the Fat Duck in London. Under his guidance Benjamin learned to work with the best produce, fish and protein but most importantly he learned how to handle the product with respect that it deserves. This is what he considers to be the most influential part of his culinary career.

Since 2001 Chef Benjamin has held positions in restaurants, sports entertainment venues and private clubs that range from prep cook to executive chef. He understands that staying current with all culinary trends without forgetting the classics is crucial to the evolution of the kitchen and has always considered himself an apprentice of the culinary world.



Greg Meeker is the Corporate Executive Chef and Brands Champion for Sysco Seattle and is in his 15th year with Sysco.  Prior to that, Chef Meeker worked for over 20 years as a Chef for Westin, Hyatt, and Wyndham Hotels.  He has also taught numerous culinary education classes, facilitated numerous culinary-based corporate team building functions, and judged several culinary competition and evaluation events.  His honors include cooking for Presidents Clinton and Bush, and being featured in several publications.  Chef Meeker’s specialties are Contemporary Southwestern, French Provencial, and Cajun/Creole Cuisines.   His philosophy is to identify and select the best and most compatible ingredients possible, then prepare and present them with the highest respect, precision, and harmony to create something spectacular and memorable.



Cooking since the age of fourteen, Chef Michael Midgley brought his culinary talents to Lincoln Center after opening Midgley’s Public House in November of 2014. And it won’t be subtle if we take into consideration his nationally recognized awards.

Midgley’s Public House is an exciting, culinary experience serving American-fusion, paired with spirits and fine wine. Chef Midgley has been named a brand ambassador for the Certified Angus Beef brand.

Chef Midgley has made a name for himself in the culinary world. He attended California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and was most recently the Executive Chef at Ernie’s Food and Spirits in Manteca. His big and vivacious personality expands way beyond San Joaquin County. He has appeared as a contestant on Bravo television’s “Top Chef” and was the top winner of Food Network’s “Cut Throat Kitchen”. As he reached ‘celebrity chef’ status, he has appeared as a judge on Esquire network’s “Knife Fight” and Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters, as well as appearing on CNBC’s Restaurant Start up with his wife, Laci.

Now his celebrity chef status is taking a back burner to his passion of operating his own restaurant – and his passion to serve great food! Involved in every detail of the design of the restaurant to the savory selections on the menu, the opening of Midgley’s Public House is not only a dream, it is now a reality. Chef Midgley and his wife Laci reside in Stockton with their three children.



Elisabeth Watkins is the winner of Food Network’s Chopped Junior, Season 1. She is a current junior at Central Catholic High School. Elisabeth learned to appreciate food growing up on a farm and cooking in 4-H. Since Food Network she has instructed cooking classes, judged cooking competitions, appeared on local television, and continues her passion and advocacy for agriculture and cooking.

Awards & Honors

CA State Fair 4-H Cooking Throwdown winner 2013, 2014, 2015
Guest Chef at Evan’s Kitchen in Sacramento
CA Ag in the Classroom Beef Recipe Winner
CA State Fair Cooking Demonstrator and Judge
Featured Presenter at Farm-to-Fork Sacramento