On Wednesday October 20th, at 4:30pm in the East Café, located in SCE, five teams of UIC students participated in the third annual student cooking competition at UIC called, “You’re the Chef”. , Teams of three students were provided with a team member of Sodexho Dining to be used as a resource.
The teams of students were provided with basic ingredients and spices from the kitchen of Sodexho as well as provided with a mystery box. Inside the mystery box, unknown to the teams until the menu planning had started, was corned beef, orange roughie, pancetta, flank steak and crab meat. Teams were to incorporate every item of the mystery box into their three course meal consisting of an appetizer, entrée and dessert. The five teams of students, along with their Sodexho Dining team member were given fifteen minutes to plan the three course meal and an hour and fifteen minutes to execute three servings of each course.
As students were scrambling to prepare their course by chopping, blending, frying and sautéing , the judges walked around. The judges observed the teams cooking up a storm alongside Sheetal Bhagat, founder and owner of Fat Mango Kitchen in Chicago and finalist on the television show Master Chef with Gordon Ramsey.
Teams participating in “You’re the Chef” had their dishes judged by taste, appearance, creativity and organization. The panel of five judges consisted of Nick Ardinger, Assistant Director of Campus Housing; Sarah Levy of Sarah’s Pastries and Candies; Mario Santiago, Executive Chef of May Street Café, granddaughter of Julia Child; and Theresa Lauren, a dietician and graduate of UIC.
The winning team’s menu will be featured on the menu of the campus dining halls on November 18th. Team members of the winning dish not only received a gift card, but also bragging rights for being the Top Chef at UIC.