Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan The student team made up of Aaron Gainey, Ngan Ly, Ciera Smith, Brittany Bell and Adrianna Bell, far right, prepare their first of three courses during the 3rd annual Battle of the Chefs competition against the faculty team at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville Tuesday. After six judges evaluated a three course meal from each team the students defeated the faculty 189 - 178.
Battle of the Chefs Competition
The 3rd annual Battle of the Chefs competition between the faculty and student teams at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville Tuesday. After six judges evaluated a three course meal from each team the students defeated the faculty 189 - 178.
LAWRENCEVILLE — After two rounds of dishes served, the competition between students and faculty at Georgia Gwinnett College was too close to call. Then came the bananas foster that sealed the win.
“It tasted like clouds in heaven,” said Brittany Bell, a member of the student team and president of the Black Student Association.
For the judges at the third annual “Battle of the Chefs” on Tuesday night in the Student Center Dining Hall at GGC, that sentiment could describe nearly all of the dishes. In a competition that saw six students take on six faculty members, there wasn’t a shortage of enthusiasm, especially when Maria Lumpkin danced to the “Cupid Shuffle.”
The students prevailed 189-178, and were awarded $30 each for “munch money” to be used at GGC dining facilities. The runnerup faculty team earned $20 each of “munch money.”
The judges were Jim Fatzinger, associate vice president of student affairs, Laura James, assistant vice president of academic and student affairs, Dean of Students Tomas Jimenez, Student Government Association vice president Sean George and softball coach Kathleen Ihlenburg.
“I was expecting to be rooting for the students no matter what,” George said. “But as far as presentation goes, when the students presented theirs, I was surprised, because it looked nice, but then I saw the faculty, and it went above and beyond.”
Student Ngan Ly said it was the first contest she’d ever participated in, while fellow student Aaron Gainey won for the second straight year.
Singing and swaying at times with a skillet in her hand for possible bonus points from the judges, Lumpkin, the director of student involvement, was never short on energy.
“I’m enthusiastic about anything I do involving students, so I was all into it, and all over it,” she said. “Anytime we can connect with students outside of the classroom and engage with them, and work with them it’s always a positive experience.”
The competition consisted of the dishes judged on presentation, explanation, technique and taste on a scale of one to five. This is the first year the competition has included faculty after two all-student affairs. The secret ingredient was pineapple that was required to be used in all three dishes. The teams were given time limits for each round of 30, 45 and 30 minutes each.
Members of the student team said they nearly ran out of time during the entree round, and had to improvise because their chipotle crusted chicken wasn’t done with about five minutes remaining.
Lumpkin said the toughest part of the evening was time management, and “really trying to put together a really good product in a little amount of time.”
The pineapple secret ingredient also caused a change in plans.
“Took us to a whole different area than when we started to plan,” she said.
Jimenez said the best dish of the night was the student team’s appetizer of a mixed green salad with seared scallops, herbs and a homemade dressing.
The faculty countered with an entree dish of teriyaki chicken with fried rice, which made the event virtually tied entering the dessert round.
Ciera Smith, a member of the student team, said none of the students knew each other when they signed up for the event, but were glad they met plenty of new faces because of the event.
“It was a lot of pressure with everybody yelling at each other,” Smith said. “But we made good food so I guess it worked out.”