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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Iron Chef whips up competition

Monday, March 10, 2008  
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By Katie Halstead

Price is a common concern for college students looking for a meal, but for Iron Chef: College Style, low price and Ramen Noodles were considered requirements.

The cooking competition was sponsored by SGA on Tuesday night, and three female students walked away winners.

Elyssa Dolinger, Renee Lanpher and Whitney Parker made up the group "Hot Crossed Buns" and received a $100 cash prize to split between the members.

Student contestants met in the student center and made a three course meal in just one hour using a required secret ingredient: Ramen Noodles.

Participants were allowed to bring anything they could manage to help them win. Since this was a college-style competition, using things commonly found in a dorm room made for more points.

"The event was really fun, and there was a lot of excitement and energy in the room," Martin said. "I was one of the judges, and honestly, I tasted the 27 best Ramen dishes I've ever had."

Creativity was one of the categories they were scored in, so each group's method of preparation and how resourceful they were was important.

The students had to keep in mind the judges were looking for something tasty but low cost.

They were to make a small menu with the price alongside each ingredient used.

Ramen was picked as the secret ingredient because it is a traditional college student food.

"I think it was a true test of their creativity and skill to make something delectable out of something as ordinary as Ramen," Martin said.

Martin, who plans and organizes all the SGA events, worked closely with Student Activities Coordinator for Student Life, Summer Lashley, to make this event work.

The judges were rounded up by Lashley, and included Martin, Admissions Counselor Matt Thomas, alumni Scott DeBoard and Lashley herself.

The contestants had to be in groups of two or three.

Senior Cody Woodward competed with his roommate, senior Patrick Grewe and senior Amber Laird. Their group, "Two Guys and a Girl," tied for second place with "Divas in Training."

Woodward is a finance major with a secret passion for making good food. He was a little uneasy about finding a dessert recipe with Ramen Noodles in it, but by the time of the contest, he was ready to go.

"I finally found a Web site with Ramen Noodle dessert recipes," Woodward said.

Woodward felt confident of his group's chances for winning after he found the Web site, and his team was well prepared competition from the start.

SGA provided some items for the students, but extra ingredients, appliances and untensils were brought by the participants.

"I just wanted to thank the SGA for providing the Ramen Noodles for everyone," Woodward said.

Laird said her knowledge of food preparation at Outback Steakhouse was an advantage in the contest. She prepared an Asian salad mix for her group.

Senior Terry Verner is competed alongside his roommate, junior Brandon Miller. Verner loves cooking, and has even considered it as a career.

"Honestly, if I wasn't in school for the degree plan I'm on now, I would definitely go to culinary school," Verner said.

Students decided to be in this contest for many different reasons. Woodward wanted to gain some extra money and have fun, but Verner had a different reason.

"I simply enjoy cooking," Verner said. "Watching Food Network while making dinner has made me want to cook under pressure like Bobbie Flay and Mario Batali do all the time."

Time was not wasted for those who did not win prizes in the competition. Each participant was awarded a $5 gift certificate to Martin's favorite coffee shop—Allaus Coffee and Gelato. 

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