Cooking competition heats up Eastway lounge

Brittany Moseley

Student competitors prepare their meals in the Iron Chef event at Eastway last night. The event was sponsored by Kent Interhall Council and Dining Services.


Credit: DKS Editors

Eastway lower lounge is usually filled with plush arm chairs and coffee tables, but last night it was filled with mixing bowls, gas burners, cutting boards and lots of zucchini.

Four student teams and a Residence Services team participated in Iron Chef, a cooking competition hosted by Dining Services and Kent Interhall Council. Teams had to make a minimum of three dishes and incorporate spinach, shallots and zucchini. Teams also had to use a secret ingredient in all of their dishes, which was revealed to them that night. The secret ingredient was capers, the fruit of a pepper bush.

Teams had one hour to impress the judges, Betsy Joseph, director of Residence Services; Nancy Schiappa, associate director of alumni relations; and Brenda Richardson, senior secretary for the Center for Student Involvement.

Autumn Piller, director of marketing for Dining Services, said participants don’t have to know how to cook, but it helps to know the basics.

“If you know how to turn the gas (burner) on, you’re good,” Piller said.

However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. While the other teams were chopping vegetables and frying meat, the Residence Services team was trying to turn its gas on. All it took was a new gas burner though, and the team was ready to start.

“Oh – competition is back on people!” said T.J. Logan, senior assistant director for Residence Services, as he donned a hairnet and a red apron.

Teams didn’t stop working the whole time. Some fried, others sautéed and a few chopped.

“(My friend) Dasha and I were the official cutters,” said freshman nursing major Anna Bailey, as she chopped a cucumber. “I taught Rachel Ray everything she knows.”

Bailey and her five friends made stuffed chicken, zucchini bread, sautéed zucchini, spinach dip and stir fry.

Other teams made dishes such as stuffed zucchini, spinach and zucchini soup, and fried zucchini chips.

Sophomore architecture major Tim Magner decided to participate because he likes to cook but doesn’t get to do it often.

“I’m from Chicago, so I don’t get to cook a lot – so for me it was just fun and relaxing,” Magner said.

Magner and his teammates made linguini with clam sauce, stuffed truffles, and rice with spinach and capers.

“We both agreed linguini was a simple thing to do, and then we agreed we should try something risky with the truffles,” said Magner’s teammate Robert Harrison, freshman history major.

Bailey and her friends won first place, and Magner’s team received second place. Both teams received restaurant gift certificates.

Robin Wright, KIC director of community development, said everyone had a lot of fun, and she was surprised by some of the dishes prepared.

“I wasn’t expecting everybody to come in and cook like chefs,” she said.

Piller said she was also impressed.

“I never thought students could cook like that.”

Contact room and board reporter Brittany Moseley

at [email protected].