Two teams faced off in NAU School of Hotel and Restaurant Management (SHRM)’s first Chopped competition on November 6, 2014. Modeled after the Food Channel’s show, the challenge was to prepare a delicious hamburger using ground buffalo or venison meat; cranberries; pork sausage; and arugula greens.
The students had 10 minutes to meet with their chef to decide upon a menu and then 30 minutes to prepare and serve the food. A panel of four judges critiqued the dishes based on presentation, taste, and creativity.
Team 1: Scott Heinonen (’94 HRM), Chef and co-owner of Tinderbox in Flagstaff; Caitlin Peretti (sophomore); and Katie Dean (senior).
Team 2: Judson Branch, Executive Chef from Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel; Samantha Roskopf (post baccalaureate degree); and Jocelyn Ketsdever (sophomore).
The pleasant task of judging fell to: Shannon Rafferty (sophomore); Josue Chavez (junior); Blake Walter (junior); and Dr. Costen, SHRM executive director.
The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Demonstration Kitchen was packed with students and faculty supporting their favorite team, and of course, to help with the tasting afterwards. Commentator Jacquie Rozen (junior) did an excellent job keeping the audience entertained and up-to-date with what was happening “in the trenches.”
Team 1 was victorious with their creative, delicious, venison burger with a blue cheese and arugula spread with cranberries on the bottom of a Ciabatta bread and a side of spicy Italian sausage with veggies.
“I learned so much from Chef Heinonen. It was quite entertaining to watch a real executive chef at work, especially with his colorful personality. While it was stressful, I feel like I know a little bit more about what it feels like to perform in a fast-paced kitchen. It was an amazing experience, ” shared Team 1 chef assistant, Katie Dean.
“It was a great experience to work with such a talented chef. I took away from this experience the ability to work with another person under pressure and create a successful product. We both walked away proud of what we created,” said Team 2 chef assistant, Samantha Roskopf.
“I learned how to work efficiently and quickly with a team, as well as how to cook bison that tastes like heaven on earth!” exclaimed Team 2 chef assistant, Jocelyn Ketsdever.
“I learned that vinegar coleslaw makes a wonderful pairing with venison burgers!” said taster Leah Smith.
“The room was filled with high energy, lots of laughter, and great competition among the chefs. The students were going with the flow. We discussed having a ‘cupcake war’ next semester,” said event moderator, Sharon Lovich, SHRM academic advisor.
Hands-on experience always offers a sense of the real world and this fast-paced event did not disappoint in that regard.
Categories: flagstaff business news nau business news january 2015 2015 chopped, shrm-style