On Feb. 19, five teams of two students competed in a timed cooking challenge at Brody Square. The annual Student Spartan Chefs event allows team members the opportunity to create a dish with unique ingredients, collaborate with sous and executive chefs to expand their skillset, and learn to work effectively as a team under a time crunch.
Judges this year included Rebecca Selesky, Culinary Services (CS) interim executive director; Lisa Farley, CS senior associate director pro tempore; Ashlee Sanders, student cook supervisor at Brody Square; and guest Chef Jehangir Mehta, owner and restauranteur at Graffiti, Graffiti Earth and Me & You Restaurants in New York City.
Each team had one hour to create and plate their dish, which was scored on presentation, overall flavor and creativity. This year, as opposed to receiving a mystery basket of ingredients, competitors submitted a recipe in advance of the event.
The winning team, siblings Raffi and Mariana Hulian from The Gallery at Snyder/Phillips, presented a traditional Venezuelan arepa dish. "When they announced that we were the winners, we both felt very excited, happy and proud," they shared. "This is something we did for fun and at the end we put effort in preparing a very delicious dish, that also has a special meaning since it is Venezuela's national dish. Plus it's the first time a team from The Gallery won the competition, so it was pretty cool."
Leading up to the event Raffi and Mariana practiced creating the dish several times. "We enjoyed the preparation process since each time we practiced we got to share it with our co-workers, who gave feedback and enjoyed our dish. At the end of the day, food is something that brings people together and events like this help you meet great people and connect through food."
Second place went to Neil Lloyd and Mattison Emery from East Neighborhood for their plantain nacho recipe, and in third place was Brigit Culkeen and Travis Schebel for their MSU hobo fries.
Congratulations to all our teams and thank you to everyone who came out to support the event! A special thank you to our emcees, Michael Allensworth and Maja Myszkowski from Residence Education and Housing Services, for keeping the audience engaged throughout the competition.
Photos from the event can be seen online on our Facebook page.