Spatulas, skillets and spoons were some of the culinary instruments used in a tasty inaugural event: Staff and students competed in the annual Ultimate Campus Chef Competition Nov. 12.
The competition – which is sponsored by Metz Culinary management – has been compared to the “spirited cook-offs featured on the Food and Bravo networks,” according to the university’s website.
This is often because of the com- petition’s intense and demanding nature, which required that the three, four-person teams create three separate dishes – with the secret ingredient of candy corn– to be sampled and judged on a series of criteria. According to the competition rules, the criteria was based on a cumulative score within the areas of taste, presentation, originality and dish name.
This year, the Ultimate Campus Chef Competition featured one faculty team and two student teams – “Poupon (You),”“The Munchies” and “Cooking Monsters.” This was the first time the competition had a faculty team, according to Director of Student Activities Darcy Brodmerkel.
“We don’t normally have it [the competition] at this time of the year. We usually hold it during the spring semester, but this year, as part of Dr. Botzman’s inaugura- tion celebration, we decided to hold it because we were aware that he enjoys cooking. So we put it in and allowed him to come up with his own team and then we found two additional teams – we adver- tised – and two additional teams came forward,” said Brodmerkel.
Brodmerkel, who served as the event’s MC and honorary taste tester, worked the crowd and sampled food alongside Interim Dean of College of Health Sciences Dr. Glen Tellis, Dean of College Sciences Dr. Fred Croop, and Dean of College of Arts & Sciences Dr. Russ Pottle.
“Seeing the variety of approaches to the food and seeing the creativity that was involved with assembling the dishes [was my favorite part],” said Pottle
“My favorite approach to the appetizer was the salad that was brought forward by The Munchies. ‘The Munchies’ salad was really a nice, bright taste. I thought the vinaigrette was excellent – apple cider vinaigrette, little bit of sugar, little bit of olive oil, and it really brightened up the greens and fruit that was in it.”
“Cooking Monsters” team member Andrew Casanova especially enjoyed two aspects – which revolved around friendly interactions and cooking.
“I’m not a very competitive person,” he said. “I appreciate competition in its own respect, but I simply enjoyed cooking with good friends. We each brought something different to the table, no pun intended, with our own specialty.”
Casanova encourages other students to sign up for a cooking activity in the future.
“If you go into the competition with the sole intention of winning, then you might not appreciate cooking for the art it is. Go in with the mentality of seeing others’ enjoyment from the food you prepare, and just have fun.”
That was what Botzman also liked best.
“It was a lot of fun and it was good to get everyone out and cooking,” said Botzman “It’s nice to have the students really be included in it. I think sometimes they don’t get to be part of all these kinds of things. I’m just glad that students got to participate and be a part of it.”
The Munchies finished in third place, Poupon (You), in second, and Cooking Monsters finished first. Each team received a mon- etary gift that was split among members.