By Joel Cruz |Staff Writer|
Ginger and soy sauce marinated steak, zucchini and jalapeño wrapped shrimp and a pico de gallo and grilled onion steak were just a few dishes featured as CSUSB Dining Services hosted its third annual Copper Chef Competition on Feb. 23 at the Upper Commons to showcase the cooking talents of students that participated.
The event was free to enter and free to watch, with its format mimicking the style of the reality television program “Iron Chef.”
The competition was originally composed of four teams of two students, each but one team did not show up and gave the remaining three teams a better chance to win.
The first team featured students Nadia Kahil and Tamara Jreisat, along with team two which featured Riana Rosas and Ike Owuama, followed by team three Alexys Pasos and Stephanie Vivas.
The students wore their chef jackets as they had one hour to prepare a main dish accompanied by a salad to be judged for taste, creativity and presentation.
The judges were comprised of various faculty and staff which included Vice President of University Advancement Ron Fremont, Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs Alysson Satterland, Event Specialist Mike Arteaga, Associate Director of Community Engagement Bryant Fairley, and Director of Alumni Relations Dorren Hatcher.
The sixth judge was student Kayle Gutierrez, President of Delta Sigma Chi.
Similar to the show “Iron Chef”, the Copper Chef Competition featured a mystery ingredient that was kept secret until the day of the event.
This year’s secret ingredient was a New York strip steak, which was unveiled by CSUSB’s Chef “Tito” Calderon. Along with the strip steak, each team was given two pieces of colossal shrimp which could be used in either the salad or main course.
“As those who know me would say I have good appreciation for a well cooked meal, and I’m somewhat of a foodie,” Fairley said. “I was pleasantly surprised by the creativity and taste of the main dishes, with limited time the students created little masterpieces of deliciousness.”
Rosas and Owuama (team two) came in first place, followed by Kahil and Jreisat (team one) in second place and Pasos and Vivas (team three) in third.
The winners received larger trophies and small prizes from Starbucks along with a cookbook of all the Presidents, President’s Wives and Chef Tito’s recipes.
This year’s Copper Chef Competition was held at a different time slot than the two previous iterations of the event.
“This was our first time having the Copper Chef during the day versus an evening event,” stated Emily Orquiza in an email, Unit Marketing Coordinator for CSUSB Dining Services. “It was a great turn out, the event was prepared with the intention to show our celebration for CSUSB’s 50th anniversary and the Homecoming Week.”
Even though the turnout was favorable for Orquiza, there were some strategies to implement to ensure an even bigger crowd for next year.
“For next year, we’ll probably give out some free samples of food,” said Orquizas.