As the smell of freshly cooked burgers filled the air in the Student Center Quad, Montclair State University students participated in the annual Battle of the Chefs. Three teams competed in the competition with the green team winning first place for the best and juiciest burgers.
Each team had an hour to prepare the perfect burger with the help of a professional chef from Montclair State’s kitchen. In addition, the teams created Coke Floats for the judges while they decided which burger was the most savory.
The panel of judges included Vice President of Student Development and Campus Life Dr. Karen Pennington, Director of Auxiliary Services Andrew Pignataro, Student Government Association Executive Treasurer Vincent Osei and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Rob Chesney.
The judges loved each of the burgers the teams presented them with; however, there could only be one winner. Andrew Pignataro was very impressed with the green team’s dedication to creating scrumptious burgers.
“Green team had it from the beginning,” Pignataro said. “They had the best presentation, creativity and while all three burgers were excellent, theirs was definitely a little notch above.”
The winners of the green team were sophomore public health major Mara Myers, sophomore business administration major Madison van der Laak and sophomore communication and media arts major Joanna Huster.
Myers discussed how participating in the event was spur of the moment.
“We honestly didn’t even know we were doing this,” Myers said. “We walked out and someone was like, ‘Hey, do you want to do this event?’ And we were like, ‘Yeah, sure.'”
The winning team had a strategic way of cooking their burgers. They first mixed the raw meat with ranch, salt and pepper, and then cooked it and topped it off with pepper jack cheese and jalapenos.
They decided to put the lettuce on the bottom of the burger so the juice of the burger wouldn’t make the buns soggy. The team said they used a “special sauce,” which they declined to give away as it was the secret to their tasty victory.
Each winning member won an engraved trophy, $100 in Red Hawk dollars, a $50 gift certificate to the bookstore, a Montclair State T-shirt and a branded Coca-Cola float glass.
The blue team, who came in second place, each won $25 Red Hawk dollars, and the third place winner, the red team, each won a $10 free meal coupon to any dining location on campus.
Students that were spectating received free Coca-Cola earbuds, smartphone holders, samples of Dunkin’s Shot in the Dark espresso drinks, new Diet Coke flavors and the brand new Coca-Cola Orange Vanilla beverage. Red Hawks also had the chance to enter in a giveaway to win a Coca-Cola grill and a Lipton Iced Tea grill tool set.
Dining Service Marketing Manager Lindsey Anderson was one of the staff members who made this event possible and wants to continue doing events like these in the future.
“We are hoping to have this event again in the fall, probably late October in warm weather with a chili cook-off,” Anderson said. “Dining services will continue to host similar events such as teaching kitchen, DIY, food features and more.”
For more information on future dining services events, visit @eatatmontclair on Instagram and the Dining Services Hawk Sync page.