Student cooking competition inspires delectable dishes

Monday, March 13, 2017 Student cooking competition inspires delectable dishes

Contestants slice bread

On Mar. 10, Campus NightLife hosted Foodie Fest, an event that combined a “Chopped” cooking competition with meal preparation demonstrations from Dining Services and a food drive for the Huskers Helping Huskers Pantry+.

Four teams competed in the cooking competition. At the start of the three rounds, hosts gave team members four ingredients to include in the dish they created. Campus NightLife also provided other ingredients. Teams had to create an idea for their dish, cook and plate it within the 30-minute time limit.

Competition judges were Associate Director of East Campus Programs Reshell Ray, Assistant Director for Civic Engagement Linda Moody and Program Coordinator of the Student Money Management Center Megan Scherling.

The first round ingredients were ground beef, kale, crystalized lemon and pickled beets. Judges eliminated student Levi Gipson and OASIS Program Coordinator Kevin Reese from the competition after the first round.

“I’ve never cooked in a competition,” said Gipson. “It’s kind of fun to use ingredients you have on hand and cook within a time limit.”

For the second round, the remaining three teams comprised a dish with couscous, okra, peanut butter and lamb chops.

After tasting the dishes, the judges eliminated students Zach Bram and Talia Halperin. Bram and Halperin did not plan on participating in the competition but decided to compete after a team dropped out of the competition.

“I’ve always watched friends compete [in the competition], and at the very last minute a team dropped and we got pulled in,” said Halperin. Despite not having time to prepare, Halperin and Bram said they enjoyed participating the competition.

In the final round, the remaining two teams created a dessert out of blackberries, cinnamon, cream of coconut and oats. In the end, a meager three points separated the winning team, Aditya Immaneni and Natalie Hanisch, from the runners up, Kelsey Moss and Aviva Atri. Both teams had competed in the competition in the past.

“We got really nervous the first round, but when we relaxed it got easier,” said Hanisch.

During the competition, Ron White, assistant food service manager for University Dining Services East, provided a cooking demonstration where he made tacos and shrimp and grits. Attendees sampled the food after watching White prepare the meals.

Throughout the event, students also learned more about Student Money Management Center and resources available at the Pantry+.

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