Recently, a team of five students participated in a first time Platinum Chef contest hosted by Hiram College.
The contest required teams of students to compete against other teams of college students in a cooking contest. The other colleges included: Hiram College, Malone University, University of Mount Union, Kenyon College and Tiffin University.
“This is the first time I’ve ever done a contest like this, Keith Tyger resident director of AVI Fresh said. “This experience was so much fun and great for the students.”
The students that competed represented a variety of majors. The majors ranged from nursing to criminal justice. There was not a culinary student present.
A professional kitchen, unlimited ingredients and an executive chef from campus were provided to aide the students in the competition.
AVI Fresh, the Warren based food company hosted the competition. Currently, the food service company operates at all college campuses.
The teams selected had already proven their culinary skills at a contest held on their home campus.
“We had a cooking competition awhile ago for students,” Tyger said. “The winners of that contest got to move on to the competition at Hiram.”
Before the contest began the teams were given a list of secret ingredients that they might be required to use. It was not revealed until the day of the contest which ingredient they would have to cook with.
“Our students were very serious about this contest,” Tyger said. “They researched all five ingredients they were given and came up with a menu for each that way they would be prepared no matter what.”
Japanese Chef Hiroko Shimbo began the event with a demonstration on Japanese cuisine. Shimbo is a nationally recognized sushi chef. She demonstrated to the teams how to make udon noodles and miso soup.
Rice, water, soybeans and sea salt make up miso, a Japanese flavor base. Miso was the secret ingredient the teams were required to use in their meals.
A wide range of meals were prepared by the teams. The taste and quality of the meals was left to be debated by the judges.
The first course created by Malone was a salad composed of a couscous ball with zucchini slices and a miso dressing. The judges praised the meal for its taste, but did not approve of its presentation. The couscous ball and the zucchini slices were to large according to the judge.
The rice and salmon patty entree were well received by the judges.
“If we had not had points docked for the salad I believe we would’ve had a real shot at winning,” Tyger said.
Hiram ended up winning the competition with its well put together salad and its entree of salmon served on a block of sticky white rice.
The prize for the winning the contest was $2,500. The team of five split the money evenly amongst themselves.
Christina Graw is managing editor and a contributing writer for The Aviso.