Through a series of culinary competitions leading up to the finale, and the chance to cook for more than 600 attendees and claim the title of Student Iron Chef, teams collected points and votes to determine who would move on.
The first competition had teams create signature dishes for the judges, as Team Nachos—consisting of Jared Breiter and Reid George—won this competition with a plate of agnol otti carbonara featuring hand-made pasta.
Next, teams competed in Quick-Fire competitions that were short, timed contests—like baking a pizza in 12 minutes, icing a cake in 15 minutes, or whipping up a perfect meringue—that really put the pressure on, with the teams earning points towards a spot in the final.
“We tried out a new format this year and everyone seemed to really enjoy the quick-fire challenges that we organized,” said James McFarland, executive chef of Culinary Services, and one of four judges.
“I think the teams showed a lot more of themselves during these quick-fire competitions,” said Sarah Crawford, dining co-ordinator with Culinary Services. “They had to really dig deep during some of them and rely on their skills and their teammates. It was great to see everyone working together to be successful while having some good laughs, too.”
After points were tallied and the voter’s choice announced, the top three teams earning a spot in the finale were: Team What’s Our Name, consisting of Angele Lalonde, Dylan Huynh, Mark Tan, and Raina Kim; Team Nachos; and Team Cumin Get It, made up of Benjamin Roel Westh Jorgensen, Mackenzie Pudwell, Rose Wu, and Shiney Choudhary.
Ahmed Mohamed, Culinary Services executive sous chef, and fellow staff helped the teams prepare for the big finale and perfect their dish for 600 people. And the teams didn’t disappoint.
Team Cumin Get It showed their take on a multicultural fusion dish with a delicious beetroot and lamb galette. Team Nachos created more hand-made pasta with a delectable agnolotti carbonara featuring truffle cream reduction and zucchini that showed their Italian cooking talent and flare. Lastly, Team What’s Our Name put together all their favorite components to create a visually stunning dish of porchetta with caramelized orange yogurt, roasted pear and parsnip puree, fennel and onion pickle.
It was a tough deliberation for the judges, but they gave a slight edge to Team What’s Our Name, winners for the second year in a row and recipients of a $1,000 gift card from Shop usask.
“Over the past six years we’ve seen this event grow and evolve and this was definitely one of the best Student Iron Chef competitions to date. Every year I’m impressed with the creativity as well as some of the passion for food and cooking that this event brings out in our students,” said Mcfarland.
Watch the Student Iron Chef episodes at usask.ca/culinaryservices.