Battle of the Chefs competition set for March 1Tweet
Sodexo and Binghamton University Dining Services are preparing for a Battle of the Chefs competition to take place from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, in Appalachian Dining Hall.
The competition will involve collaborative efforts between students, faculty and Sodexo chefs on campus. There will be a total of five teams, four of which will consist of four students selected from each residential community. One team will be made up of faculty and staff.
Each team will have no knowledge of what they are to make.
“It’s kind of like Iron Chef,” said Katrina Miner, Sodexo marketing manager, referring to the popular cooking TV show.
The chefs will be there to supervise and help guide each team, yet the students are responsible for all of the cooking ingredients, and will be expected to prepare three courses in a limited amount of time. The meals will then be evaluated by a panel of judges.
Miner is enthusiastic about the goodie bags contestants will receive.
“They will get participation bags, which will not be skimpy,” Miner said. The goodie bags will be provided by General Mills and will contain T-shirts, iTunes gift cards and dining dollars.
The biggest prize goes to the winners of the battle − a catered dinner for 12, and $50 Visa gift cards.
To compete for the grand prize, each team will have to adhere to a strict set of guidelines before and during the battle. Prior to the competition, the teams will meet twice with their designated chef to discuss safety issues such as proper knife handling.
Each team will be equipped with a propane burner, a George Forman grill, a blender and a “mystery basket” filled with ingredients. There will be a 10-minute period when the teams will be allowed to meet and plan their cooking strategy before the competition begins.
The competitors will begin to cook at 5:45 p.m. The first dish is to be presented to the judges at 6:30 p.m., followed by the second and third dishes at 6:40 and 6:50 p.m., respectively, Miner said.
As far as the nature of the meals to be prepared is concerned, not even Miner knows what to expect. “I don’t know, it depends on what is in the mystery basket,” Miner said, “but we are looking to promote the beginning of National Nutrition Month, so the actual basket will be based on wellness items that we want to highlight.”
The contents of the baskets are privy only to Campus Executive Chef John Enright, who coordinated them. Enright is also in charge of the judging. Judging criteria for each dish will include presentation, taste and how well the ingredients are used.
The contest is also set to highlight Sodexo’s Balanced Way program. Coordinated by campus Registered Dietitian Alexa Schmidt, the program prepares nutritious meals to help encourage healthy life and eating habits.
Some of the Sodexo staff will be directly involved in the competition. General Manager Paul Kerns and Director of Auxiliary Services Peter Napolitano will be on the faculty and staff team. David Simek, associate athletic director, will DJ the event. One of the judges is Resident Dining Director Jim Meagher.
“We are working on getting a couple of local celebrity judges, but I don’t want to say anything yet,” Miner said.
Miner is also hoping to broadcast the contest on a large screen in the dining hall, with a cameraman traveling around to capture the competition. Students and faculty are encouraged to attend and watch the battle. A vendor fair will also take place at the same time as the competition, with vendors set up to provide samples around the perimeter of the contest, guaranteeing a good experience for everyone.
Sodexo also hosts other events that allow for student and staff interaction. Contests such as trivia and eating competitions take place weekly in the dining halls. All of Sodexo’s events are student-oriented, and the Battle of the Chefs is a chance for Sodexo staff and students to interact, Miner said.
More information about the competition and other Sodexo events can be found at budining.com.