Teams battle it out for the title of top vegan iron chef

Caitlyn Wachovec

Weeklong Earth Day celebration begins

The University of Akron took first and second place at yesterday’s vegan chef competition. The winning team won free dinner at VegiTerranean, a vegan restaurant in Akron. JESSICA M. KANALAS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

“Who’s Your Mama?,” a weeklong Earth Day celebration, began with a gong yesterday in the Student Center, signaling the first annual Vegan Iron Chef competition.

The event, hosted by Standing Rock Cultural Arts, Kent State Dining Services and the VegiTerranean Restaurant in Akron, included two competitions. Two Kent State teams took on three University of Akron teams in the first competition. Seven professional chefs competed in the second half of the event.

During the hour-and-a-half competition, the teams made one appetizer, a salad and an entree, using all vegan ingredients. Two Akron teams won first and second place.

The Kent student teams had no professional culinary training, but members said it was something they enjoyed doing together.

“My friends and I, at home, have our own little competitions called Copper Chefs,” said Rachel Nershi, hospitality management and French major. “This is a little more serious than that.”

The panel of judges included Farmer Lee Jones, who also judged on Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” Jones said this was a different perspective for him because he’s normally more focused on the growing of the food rather than the cooking.

The competition was the conception of Jeff Ingram, Executive Director of Standing Rock Cultural Arts, and VegiTerranean Executive Chef Scott Jones. Ingram said it is the opening event for a week of celebration for mother Earth.

“The senses are being aroused here,” he said.

Ingram, pleased with the event’s success, said he hopes the competition will continue to expand year after year.

Contact public affairs reporter Caitlyn Wachovec at [email protected].