PC culinary contest stirs students

By HILLARY KELLEY

Sizzle. Chop. Whisk. Cooking requires a certain finesse and the ability to balance flavor and presentation, and students were invited to participate in a three-day competition from Tuesday Nov.  19 through Thursday Nov. 21 showcasing their culinary genius. 

The Nielsen Dining Hall was converted into a venue suitable for the contest created in the style of the popular Food Network show “Chopped,” where students were given several ingredients to work with, as well as a surprise ingredient they were required to incorporate into their dishes. 

The purpose behind spanning the competition over three days was to create a bracket-style contest in which the winners from day one and two would go head-to-head on the last day to determine an overall winner. 

The victor of day one was sophomore James Torres, and his opponent for the finals was freshman music major Cheyanne Osoria.

According to Osoria, her manager at Chartwells encouraged her to participate in the competition. 

Little did Osoria know, she would go on to claim the title of the student chef competition’s overall winner.

Osoria’s day-two winning dish involved a cinnamon sugar glaze made from scratch and Bruschetta-wrapped asparagus.

“[The judges] thought it was interesting and weird, and I’m an interesting and weird person so it fit me,” said Osoria.

Upon hearing that she would compete against Torres, Osoria became nervous as she whipped up a flank steak dish with mashed potatoes. 

“It sounds so normal, so I was freaking out thinking [its wasn’t] creative enough,” said Osoria.

Then she saw that avocado was available for use and took advantage of the super food to add something different to her creation.

Osoria added that this was the ingredient that sealed her victory as the judges expressed their appreciation for the addition of the avocado when making their final critiques.

“I learned new things about me that I didn’t know [like how] I was creative in the cooking side of things…and mixed up weird stuff I thought would be cool and it ended up being really good,” Osoria. 

“I took a leap of faith and it was worth it.”