International Cook-Off unites tastebuds

Minjeong Cho adds a piece of egg to a Korean rice dish called bibimbap during the international cook-off on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017.

Eden Kraus

Six teams representing five different countries took to the kitchen to compete during the International Cook-Off to discover which team could create the best entree and drink in the Student Center Ballroom Thursday evening.

The teams represented Brazil, India, Oman, Sri Lanka, Jeonju (South Korea) and Seoul (South Korea). The event was hosted by the Office of Global Education and assisted by Kent State Dining Services as a part of International Education Week.

“I love this event because I have the opportunity to share my own traditional food with other people,” Miso Kim, a junior English and business double major who represented Jeonju, said.

Kim expressed how excited she was to be a part of the event after hearing about it earlier in the year.

“We really miss Korean food, so we just did it to have fun and make memories,” Kim said of her and her team.

Three judges decided first, second and third place winners, and a fourth People’s Choice award was chosen by attendees who texted in their vote during the event.

The three judges included Lamar Hylton, dean of students; Ricardo Sepulveda, assistant professor and director of the Kent/Blossom music program; and Shakhnoza Yakubova, a higher education administration teaching fellow.

India claimed first place with Brazil in second and Oman in third. Oman was also awarded the People’s Choice award.

India received first place for its spicy Mughlai chicken and kesar beverage.

“We added the sweet drink to balance out the spiciness of the chicken,” Sohini Dutta, a neuroscience graduate student representing India, said.

Dutta also conveyed her enthusiasm for the cook-off and the opportunities it provided.

“I loved being able to work in a professional kitchen and work with people of different countries,” Dutta said. “Just the rush of the whole thing, it’s been fun.”

Abdullah Al Bahlouli, a freshman accounting major from Oman, attended the cook-off to support his friends on the Oman team.

Oman, the apparent crowd favorite of the night, served Basmati rice and chicken accompanied by vimto.

Al Bahlouli said that his favorite dish was actually the Brazilian moqueca baiana de camarao, which is a slow-cooked stew that featured shrimp in this particular dish.

“I think I should try to make it myself,” Al Bahlouli said.

He also expressed his appreciation for the different experience that the event provided.

“I just really like trying new things, so it was fun to try some new food from different countries,” he said.

Kumudie Jayalath, a biochemistry graduate student, said that although she enjoyed the opportunity to cook up a traditional meal from Sri Lanka, her favorite part was getting to see what others made.

“We get to see how the other teams make their dishes, and we get to enjoy lots of different food,” Jayalath said.

To find a full schedule of events apart of International Education Week, visit the Office of Global Education’s website.

Eden Kraus is the international affairs reporter. Contact her at [email protected].