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Culinary Teams Face Off in Picnic Food Challenge

Three teams of chefs and culinary students volunteered to compete against the clock and each other to prepare the “best” picnic lunch of the day at “A Chefs Challenge: Picnic Food.”

On Sunday, May 6, 2012, the Escoffier Club at the IUP Academy of Culinary Arts and IUP Dining sponsored a picnic food culinary competition designed and organized by students.

One chef, one baking student, and two culinary students made up each team. Chefs leading the teams included IUP faculty members Martha Jo Rupert and Anthony Battaglia and chef Robert Stevens from Aramark.

Inspired by the Food Network show Chopped, each team had to prepare a cold picnic lunch for four people that included chicken, yogurt, red grapes, and one mystery item in the ingredients. Teams had 30 minutes to plan their menus, one hour to cook, and 10 minutes to plate and present the finished lunches for judging. All lunches had to include a sandwich, salad or side dish, dessert, and beverage.

Four volunteer judges evaluated organization and sanitation, use of the required ingredients and mystery item, time management, communication, creativity, presentation, and taste of the finished product. They were impressed!

The meals presented for judging included:

Team A

Chef Bob Stevens and students Rebecca Florentine, Dan Jackson, and Cory Schaeffer

  • Pepperoni Chicken Sandwich with Pork Rinds, Boiled Potato Salad with Balsamic Reduction, Watermelon Lemonade, Pineapple Foster

Team B

Chef Martha Jo Rupert and students Robert Gottschalk, Katie Noon, and Ryan Peters

  • Chicken Salad on Homemade Pita Bread. Homemade Potato Chips, Fruit Kabobs with Tofu and Yogurt dip, Rootbeer Floats with Homemade Ice Cream, Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Team C

Chef Anthony Battaglia and students Justin Steele, Brett Ream, and Matt Schropp

  • Satay Panini; Walforf Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups; Pineapple, Mango, and Kiwi Smoothie; Berry Shortcake

And the winner was…..Team B!

The event concluded with a pig roast and picnic for all in attendance, prepared by Chef Bob Stevens and Aramark. Students, faculty, and staff had a great time and are already talking about planning next year’s competition.

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