Tech CHEFS supports healthy eating

On Saturday, Feb. 26, the second annual Tech Chef competition was hosted in Brittain Dining Hall. Tech Chef is a nutritionally-based cooking competition, and it was the closing event of GT Body Image Week.
The event was created through the combined efforts of GT Dining, Auxiliary Services, Health Promotions and Cooks for Heritage, Education, Fellowship and Service (CHEFS), a student-run organization that promotes cooking and healthy eating habits.
The different Tech student teams each had an executive chef and two “sous chefs,” who are direct assistants to the executive chief.
These teams competed throughout the day in breakfast, entrée and dessert rounds. Each team had 45 minutes to create a dish of their choice that was composed of 45 percent of the key ingredient: low fat ricotta cheese.
“We chose low-fat ricotta cheese because it is healthy, can be sweet or savory and is a versatile enough ingredient to be used in breakfast, entrée and dessert,” said Julia Turner, CHEFS president and founder and a third-year STaC major.
Each round was scored by a different panel of three judges including staff members from around campus. Judges evaluated teams based on taste, ingredients, cleanliness and presentation with tie breakers being determined by the lower fat recipes.
“I like food, and I like to judge people,” said Brett Hulst, an area manager for the Freshman Experience dorms, of his decision to participate as a judge.
Hulst also watched to make sure teams followed proper food safety guidelines.
“No one likes food poisoning,” said Dori Martin, the event’s emcee and marketing manager for GT Dining.
Tech Chef generated a crowd of students and staff. Some students stayed for the entirety of the six-hour competition just to sample the different student-created cuisines.
The winning dish of the breakfast round was called “Whey Out There” Breakfast Burritos.
“It’s a reference to the large amount of whey in ricotta cheese,” said Nathan O’Connor, executive chef of the round’s winning team and a fourth-year ISyE major.
“My biggest challenge was definitely creating a recipe that met the 45 percent ricotta cheese requirement,” O’Connor said.
O’Connor, however, enjoyed the competition and plans to compete again next year.
During the entrée round, a power breaker shorted out, and the Tech chefs faced more challenges than just cooking under a time constraint.
However, the entrée team led by executive chef, Aya Ishizu, a fourth-year ISyE major, worked beyond the distractions and won the round with a Vegetarian Friendly Ricotta Noki.
The final dessert round was taken by a team led by executive chef Mya Oren, a fourth-year MGT major. Oren’s team created Healthy Ricotta Fruit Cups made of semi-sweet chocolate cups with a creamy ricotta filling infused with orange clementine flavor.
Oren, who one day hopes to open a bakery, also plans to enter the competition again next year.
The winners from each round received aprons that said Tech Chef 2011 Breakfast Champion, Entrée Champion or Dessert Champion.
Ishizu’s entrée team was the overall winner of Tech Chef 2011 with a score of 87.16 points. In addition to her champion apron, Ishizu received a $140 Heiko knife, and her sous chefs received $25 gift cards courtesy of GT Dining.
The Tech Chef 2011 champions’ recipes from each round will be posted in an online cookbook format on the CHEFS organizational website.
Martin said that the turnout nearly guarantees Tech Chef will happen again next year.
“Tech Chef 2012 will be hosted in the newly built North Ave Dining Hall. Students do not have to have a meal plan to participate or [to] come watch the event,” Martin said.
Turner will return again next year as student coordinator for the event.


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