College chefs compete in 'Iron Chef'-style contest using flounderA chef at UND and five other university chefs from around the region did battle Monday at an “Iron Chef”-style contest in Grand Forks’ Alerus Center. Three certified judges and 200 very astute “foodies” scrutinized their work with flounder, the theme ingredient, making it a very serious competition for the chefs.
By: Pamela Knudson, Grand Forks Herald
A chef at UND and five other university chefs from around the region did battle Monday at an “Iron Chef”-style contest in Grand Forks’ Alerus Center.
Three certified judges and 200 very astute “foodies” scrutinized their work with flounder, the theme ingredient, making it a very serious competition for the chefs.
Called the “Culinary Challenge,” the event was part of the Continental Regional Conference for the National Association of College and University Food Services, hosted by UND.
“The flounder came out of the ocean Tuesday near Boston and was on our dock Friday,” said Greg Gefroh, executive chef for UND Dining Services, who crafted menus for the conference.
Competing chefs were given 60 minutes to create a dish that would impress judges as well as satisfy strict nutritional requirements.
“I imagined it to be a lot more stressful than it is,” said UND kitchen manager Ed Martin as he prepared Korean barbecue flounder.
Other competitors hail from Concordia College in Moorhead and universities in Montana and Colorado, turning out dishes such as pan-fried flounder and curried, macadamia-nut-crusted flounder.
Certified judges scored the chefs’ creativity, skills, craftsmanship and sanitation. They also considered the use of seasonal ingredients and proper cooking methods.
“If you say you’re going to julienne a vegetable, it’s got to be the proper size,” said judge Shawn Hanlin, who teaches at the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute in Coos Bay.
Competitive-cooking television shows “are raising awareness and expectations, although some are out on the fringe,” said judge Richard Burr, executive chef with the Spirit Mountain Casino in Grand Ronde, Ore. “I try to preserve the proper way to cook food, the fundamental skills, and pass them on.”
Paul R. Houle, executive chef de cuisine at University of Colorado at Boulder, was announced as the winner at last night’s awards reception, will go on to compete at the NACUFS national conference in July at Boston.
Conference participants are definitely foodies, said Orlynn Rosaasen, director of dining services at UND. “You really want to put your best foot forward because they’re critiquing everything you do.”
Reach Knudson at (701) 780-1107; (800) 477-6572, ext. 107; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.