PhilaU Students and Administrators Compete in Chopped Challenge

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Judges named the black team the PhilaU Chopped Champion.

What could you cook with scampi, pumpkin seeds, sweet cider vinegar and Asian pears?

Four teams of President’s Council and Student Government Association members put their culinary skills to the test at Philadelphia University’s very own Chopped Challenge on Nov. 15 in The Kanbar Campus Center’s Common Thread.

Each team of students and administrators collaborated to create the tastiest appetizers and entrées incorporating a selection of mystery ingredients as they raced against the clock to plate their dishes in PhilaU’s adaptation of The Food Network’s hit cooking competition show “Chopped.”

“I had no idea what to expect with the Chopped Challenge, but once we opened the basket up it was actually really fun trying to figure out what we should make,” Emily Cousineau, senior class president and Chopped Challenge cook, said.  “Our team worked together really well and I was so impressed at how quickly we came together and relied on each other!”

The teams opened their baskets to find mystery ingredients shrimp, pumpkin seeds, sweet cider vinegar and Asian pears. The teams diced, stirred and sautéed their way through the appetizer round as spectators cheered them on.

After the appetizers were evaluated by the judges, the red team was chopped.

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The judges give feedback on competitors’ dishes.

The panel of judges included: Carol Spinelli, President Spinelli’s wife; Bill Albright, operational vice president for Parkhurst Dining Services; Daniel Liberatoscioli, president of the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill; and Olivier de Saint Martin, master French chef and owner of Caribou Café and Zinc Bistro. De Saint Martin competed and won on The Food Network’s “Chopped” in 2012.

In the entrée round, the remaining green, blue and black teams contended with venison loin, homemade pie, Jerusalem artichokes and quail eggs.

The event included giveaways, raffles, music and free food for spectators as the three remaining teams raced against the clock to present the judges with the best dish.

After careful deliberation, the judges named the black team the PhilaU Chopped Champion. The winning team included Jeff Cepull, vice president for information resources and CIO; Provost Randy Swearer; D.R. Widder, vice president for innovation; and Student Government Association members Daniel Rich, Aneika Thomas and Emily Cousineau.

Daniel Rich, senior architecture student and SGA vice president of communications, said it was fun to work with President’s Council members on the cooking challenge. “The mystery ingredients were fun to incorporate,” Rich said. “I had no idea how we would use a quail egg in our final recipe.”

Rich is no stranger to the kitchen. “Cooking is something I like to do in my spare time and after having spent two months earlier this year in Switzerland cooking for others I’m glad my practice paid off,” Rich said.

To see more photos, visit PhilaU’s Flickr.

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