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‘Chopped’ raises awareness for Pioneer Pantry

U View finishes first in second annual cooking competition

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‘Chopped’ raises awareness for Pioneer Pantry

The U View team works to create a risotto with white kidney beans in the second annual chopped competition.

The U View team works to create a risotto with white kidney beans in the second annual chopped competition.

Photo by Lauren Clouser

The U View team works to create a risotto with white kidney beans in the second annual chopped competition.

Photo by Lauren Clouser

Photo by Lauren Clouser

The U View team works to create a risotto with white kidney beans in the second annual chopped competition.

Written By Lauren Clouser, Co-Features Editor

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A microwave, a toaster oven and a blender were the only tools given to the contestants of Pioneer Pantry’s ‘Chopped’ competition. Each four member team was provided with ingredients that could be found in any food pantry, and had 20 minutes to create a dish that would impress the panel of judges.

The second annual ‘Chopped’ competition was held on Nov. 8 in the Lawrence Hall lobby. The event was planned by Camille Downing’s Special Events Planning Class in order to raise awareness for the Pioneer Pantry.

U View, CAB, Good Luck Have Fun eSports Club and the rugby club all competed for the prize of a $50 Genoa’s gift card.

Two teams went head to head in two different rounds to determine who would make it to the final dessert competition.

U View faced the rugby club in the first round, and were told to make a dish that included white kidney beans. The rugby team submitted a dish with kidney beans and mashed potatoes and U View created a risotto.

The panel of judges, which included Dean of Students Keith Paylo, Bob O’Gara, David Ralph and Bob Derda, discussed which dish was best, and made decisions off of a point based system that included categories like creativity and presentation.

“We had a criteria but it really was based on individual tastes so I think it became obvious after a while that some of us had differences in tastes, but that’s what made it interesting,” Derda said.

The panel of judges declared U View as the winner of the first round after comparing the risotto to Capital Grille.

Victor Nypaver, a senior broadcast production and media management major on the U View team, said the group tried to keep the dish simple.

“It was beautiful and really easy, simple flavors. And that was our main goal because we didn’t want to get too complicated with anything,” Nypaver said.

Derda said the decision was a close one.

“The decision making process was we decided for ourselves, we graded each presentation ourselves and then compared notes. And again were very surprised at how close we were in each of the categories in each of the different presentations,” Derda said.

Nypaver said the first win didn’t come as a surprise to the team.

“I think for the first round we can all agree that we were confident in our winning,” Nypaver said.

CAB and the Good Luck Have Fun eSports Club went head to head next to create a dish using canned green beans.

The eSports club quickly moved to the blender to turn the green beans into a puree.

Ethan Green, junior cinema production major and member of the eSports team said they had planned to use the blender from the beginning.

“We kind of knew from the start we didn’t want it to be a solid form, it just felt very appealing, at least to me, puree sounds fancy,” Green said. “And the other two teams did not use a blender, at least to our knowledge, so we thought it would give us a little skill points if we used the blender.”

The eSports club placed instant macaroni and cheese on the top of the puree and presented the dish to the judges. CAB created ‘pot pie soup,’ a dish that included green beans with gravy and mashed potatoes.

The judges voted for CAB’s plate, which advanced them to the final round.

Derda said the second decision was also a close one, and that both teams turned in impressive dishes.

“We watched how the teams worked together which is all part of the process. Some were quiet and we were kind of curious as to what would be the process and others would be more outgoing. But that didn’t really give any clue as to what the end result was, at the end each was very high quality presentation,” Derda said.

Green said he was disappointed that the eSports team didn’t get to continue.

“I think that next year we’ll definitely take it a little more seriously,” Green said.

The final round was a ten minute challenge, where both teams needed to make a dessert that included peaches.

At the end of ten minutes, U View presented a peach crisp and CAB had created a Caribbean cobbler with pineapple.

After much deliberation, U View’s peach crisp was ultimately declared the winner.

Nypaver said the U View team was surprised by the win.

“The second round we were definitely nervous on winning it all,” Nypaver said. “They [CAB] had a good first dish as well.”

The winning U View team consisted of Nypaver, sophomore broadcast reporting major Taylor Spirato, Samiar Nefzi, senior broadcast reporting major, and sophomore broadcast reporting major Taylor Spirito.

Courtney List, a senior advertising and public relations major, is a student enrolled in the special event planning course. List said the class had been planning the competition since second week of classes.

List said the event provided the food pantry with some much needed visibility.

“A lot of students and faculty don’t even know about it, so showing through this event that there is food that you can use and there is food that people can come up with and recipes that they can make up on the spot,” List said.

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