Students Battle in First Campus Cooking Competition

By Hiral Patel, Staff Writer

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The university’s department of dining services held their first ever chef cook-off competition yesterday.

Four teams consisting of four students and one supervising chef advisor each competed in the football tailgating themed battle of the chefs with the Super Bowl right around the corner. All the dishes created by the teams had a vegetarian appetizer theme and an entree with a special ingredient: a pomegranate glaze and juice.

First place winners, the black team, were awarded a trophy and 100 flex dollars each.

The winner of the competition, the black team, taking a picture with the five judges.
Hiral Patel | The Montclarion

Black team member, freshman information technology major Habiba Mostafa described her excitement with being a part of the winning team.

“This was an interesting experience,” Mostafa said. “We did not expect this at all, but we are very glad that we are here today, and apparently pomegranate and chocolate make a very good fusion.”

The team made an appetizer that had stuffed bell peppers with rice, stuffing and butternut squash. For the entree, the team cooked chocolate pomegranate glazed chicken.

In second place, the red team won 25 flex dollars per member. In third and fourth place was the blue and green respectively who received a free meal coupon for each member of the team.

All the teams, black, green, red, and blue, pose with their advisors and judges.
Hiral Patel | The Montclarion

Antonio Talamo, the coordinator of commuter life student programs, hosted the events, raffles and food. There was also football-related trivia questions and a touchdown dance contest where students did their best touchdown dance to compete for a prize.

Vice President for Student Development and Campus Life Dr. Karen Pennington, Director of Auxiliary Services Andrew Pignataro, assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Palazzo, assistant coach and video coordinator Taylor Groah, and the Student Government Association (SGA) President Yousef Al-Khudairi judged the event.

Ernst Lozin, freshman sports management major, explained what his purpose was to attend the battle of the chefs.

“I always like to support events on campus and Antonio Talamo is one of my friends…” Lozin said.

Lindsey Anderson, the marketing manager within the Montclair State’s dining services spoke the day before the event took place.

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A green team member and supervising chef adviser plate their food.
Ben Caplan | The Montclarion

“Being with the dining services, we really wanted to host a culinary event that would bring the campus community together in a really fun atmosphere,” Anderson said. “Cooking challenges and cooking shows right now are really popular on TV, and we wanted to bring that exciting event on campus.”

Vendors from different companies were at the event, including Coca-Cola to give out free samples, ShopRite to inform people how to eat healthy during the Super Bowl, Core Power drinks and many other vendors.

The SGA donated a Ninja blender which was given out to the student who won the raffle. Prizes were given out every 10 minutes to the audience.

Rocky the Red Hawk was ready to start the cook-off.
Hiral Patel | The Montclarion

Biology major Emil Flores said how he loved the idea of not only the free food, but being able to see people in teams cooking different types of food. Flores, who has a daughter at home, cooks everyday for her and loves every bit of it.

Battle of the chefs ended with DJ Ridd turning up the music to celebrate all the teams as they took their pictures with the five judges.

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