EKU Student Life hosted its second annual Campus Cooking Challenge Wednesday, Feb. 1 in Middle Powell, where six students competed in a Top Chef-like cooking competition using typical food donations to the Colonel Cupboard.
The event was meant to raise awareness for the university’s Colonel Cupboard, where people can bring in donations that are distributed to students in need of food at home. Will Keaton, assistant director of EKU student life-community service, explained the rules before the competition began.
“You have this pantry of ingredients, and all these ingredients are ingredients that would come in a food box out of the colonel’s cupboard food pantry on campus,” Keaton said, scanning his hands over a table of non-perishable food items such as canned vegetables, noodles and tuna.
Keaton then started the timer and began the competitors’ 45-minute time limit to cook their mystery meals.
The event was split into two rounds, with four competitors in the first and two in the second.
Defending champion Travis Walters cooked “southern rice with chicken,” Manny Hernandez chose a “sweet chicken Thai noodles,” Emily Vinson decided on “vegetables and green bean pasta bake” and Brennen Younger went for “broke college kid tuna surprise.” The second round featured James Sasko makson decided on “vegetables and green bean ing “spaghetti tacos” and Maggie Nelson’s “rav-ghetti.”
Problems that nearly all the competitors noted include having to cook everything with just one burner, a limited option of food items and the one faulty can opener that had to be shared by everyone. However, everyone was able to finish in the time allowed and were optimistic about their products.
Once the time was up, volunteer judges taste-tested the competitors’ dishes and scored them on aspects such as taste, presentation and creativity.
Vinson and Walters tied for first, with Sasko coming in second and Hernandez in third. All the recipes the competitors used were added to the Colonel’s Cupboard website at http://communityservice.eku.edu/recipes.