Students take on Chopped competition at DU

Megan Klinefelter / staff photographer
The fifth annual Duquesne Chopped competition took place on Feb. 15 in Hogan Dining Center. Twelve different teams competed for the grand prize.

02/21/2019

Meredith Blakely | staff writer

Duquesne University held its 5th annual Chopped event on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. in the Rev. Sean Hogan Dining Center. This competition is a spin-off of the Food Network cooking competition series. The event was put on by Parkhurst, Duquesne’s food service provider and the Office of Residence Life.

Dave Manz, resident district manager for Parkhurst Dining at Duquesne said, “the idea for a Chopped event at Duquesne came about more than five years ago when I was having lunch with Sharon Oelschlager, assistant vice president for student life, which includes of the Office of Residence Life. We were discussing the Food Network reality-based hit show and how cool it would be for our two departments to partner on creating a Duquesne Chopped competition for University students.”

President Ken Gormley joined the Duquesne community by participating as a judge. Chef Chad Townsend of Millie’s Ice Cream and Chef Randy Tozzie of Bakn Carnegie were also judges.

“Judges were selected by invitation. We were pleased that President Ken Gormley and Trisha Scarcia-King, assistant vice president for student involvement, were available to join us,” Manz said. “Chef Tim Fetter, Parkhurst executive chef at Duquesne and president of The American Culinary Federation, Inc., invited Chad Townsend of Millie‘s Homemade Ice Cream and to Chef Randy Tozzie from Bakn in Carnegie and Warrendale.”

Students entered the competition and showed off their culinary skills in three rounds. Round one was an appetizer or a salad, round two was an entree and the final round was a dessert. There were 12 teams of two or three students each. The teams were chosen to compete on a first-come first-serve basis. At the end of each round, four teams were chopped, or eliminated, from the competition.

In the beginning of each round, a mystery basket was presented to each team. For the first round, the mystery items were bacon pieces, pears, butter beans and scallops. The second round had a steak tenderloin, avocado, kettle corn and farro grain for the mystery items. The mystery items for the final round were: greek yogurt, Cocoa Puffs, sriracha powder and Chad’s Vanilla ice cream from Millie’s.

A pantry that contained fruit, vegetables, spices and anything else needed, was also available for all teams to use throughout the competition.

Bri Baumgartner, a sophmore education major, competed with two friends in Chopped.

“My friends and I have always thought that the Chopped competition would be fun to sign up for. We actually went to Hogan and planned on just watching the competition, but then one of the hosts said that a team was missing and they needed a replacement. So, my friend Carter, without hesitation, volunteered us! We were mainly in it just for the fun of it.”

Students and parents were gathered in Hogan to watch the competition. Some audience members were able to taste test some of the dishes.

The competition was for many something they were excited about participating in, as Baumgartner said, “my team was never in a cooking competition so it was a fun, new experience for us.”

During the first round, teams had to use scallops as the appetizer. One team made tacos and other teams made salads, but most teams made bacon wrapped scallops.

“We had to make a dish with scallops, bacon, butter beans, and a pear,” Baumgartner said. “So, we decided to make bacon-wrapped scallops topped with garlic, over a salad with sauteed carrots, pears, mushrooms, and butter beans. We had sliced apples on the side and a lemon for more taste, if needed.”

The first place winners split $300 in PLUS and will have “their names engraved on the Chopped plaque,” Manz said. They will also have their food featured at Hogan.

Second place winners received $150 in PLUS while third and fourth place got $75. Students in attendance received various items, such as t-shirts and gift cards.

“Chopped gives interested students the opportunity to learn first-hand what it’s like to prepare fresh food that tastes great while being offered helpful culinary cues from Parkhurst chefs who offered expert support and guidance,” Manz said.

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