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Platinum Chef competition sizzles, challenges cooks to create

Platinum Chef competition sizzles, challenges cooks to create

By Henri Gendreau

Last night, Malone University eked a win over Kenyon College to take home the Platinum Chef award and a $1,500 cash prize at a frenzied cook-a-thon in the Peirce servery between Malone, Hiram College, the University of Mount Union and Kenyon.

The AVI-sponsored competition was made possible by Resident District Manager of AVI Damon Remillard and emceed by Hillel Director Marc Bragin. Four student teams from each college had one hour to create two dishes of their choice. The caveat? They had to incorporate a mystery ingredient, which this year was fennel.

Judges, who presided in the Great Hall, then scored the dishes on appearance, taste, creativity, teamwork and sanitation. The individual scorings of each judge were then compiled to name a winner.

The judges this year were Allison Furlong 90, Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman, Chef Steve Schimoler of Clevelands crop bistro & bar and John Frazier, vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Mount Union.

Its going to be a good competition, Chad Wilkoff, executive sous chef at Kenyon, said before the event started. Its all up for grabs.

And it was close. Coming in second with 129.5 points to Malones 132, Kenyon came away with the $500 prize, followed closely by Hiram College with 129 points. Mount Union came in fourth with 126 points. It was the first time the host college did not take first place.

The Kenyon teams motto was win big or go big, said Kyuto Tashiro 15, a member of the five-student team that included Jacob Williams 14, Mattias Galliano 15, Sarah Krumholz 13 and Stephen Raithel 13. And with an appetizer of fried scallop with fennel coleslaw, and dish of chicken roulade on spaetzle with fennel, roasted red pepper sauce and pesto sauce, Kenyon certainly went big, much to the delight of the judges.

I have to say Im really impressed on the technique of your composure, Schimoler said. That was really very good. Despite the praise, some found the chicken to be slightly undercooked, which may have been a factor in Kenyons placing.

Its alright, Tashiro said. Well always get next year.

Sous Chef Jay Cabatingan, who oversaw the Kenyon team, echoed this sentiment. Well do better next year. A couple minutes on that chicken, it would be perfect.

But the judges were wooed by Malones pan-seared scallop atop fennel slaw with bacon vinaigrette and grilled tuna on a bed of quinoa, mushrooms and butternut squash.

You were last, but not least, Frazier said. It was worth the wait.

Hiram prepared rainbow tuna with asparagus, carrot and fennel and a caramelized apple, fennel and whip cream desert. Mount Union created a fennel-seared scallop dish and a steak with mushroom ragout, all with fennel, of course.

Brian Schultze, the executive sous chef at Malone University, was proud of his team for taking first place for the second year in a row.

The kids really enjoy it, he said. Its just fun to see the kids have a fun time.

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