Kitchen stadium chaos

Yaamini Venkataraman

This year’s Iron Chef Cook-off lacked the pizazz and sizzling colors of last year’s event


There were signs that this year’s cook-off was going to be as dreary as the weather.

It all started with the posters on the A-Building, begging for sign-ups. Then came the pleading announcements, the last-minute promo videos and finally, the day where the downcast weather moved the event and brought with it the masses of cold and hungry students, wanting the promised food, warmth and the entertainment of stressful chefs. But the magic of the moment was lost when food was given to a select few, and there was no live cooking.

The second annual Iron Chef Cook-off, organized by the Student Recognition Commission, featured seven teams. This year’s secret ingredient was chocolate, which each team had to incorporate into their dish. Dishes ranged from chocolate cupcakes and mudslide pies to coconut milk and white chocolate over shrimp. Though the dishes sounded inviting, the tastes were mediocre.

Team Awsomesauce, with freshmen Adi Nag and Rajeshwari Elangovan, made cupcakes with fudge frosting. Though the chocolate was slightly burnt and the cake was dry, the fudge itself was rich and delicious.

Team (Pie)r^2 and their Chocolate Mudslide Frozen Pie was more of a mudslide mess. It was a little too hard and messy to eat, but the soupy mudslide was a refreshing change.

Junior Stella Ziegler and her Mini Oreo Cheesecakes had the best presentation, served in cupcake holders and topped with a dollop of purple frosting and a piece of Oreo. However, the cheesecake lacked sweetness and the chocolate theme wasn’t fully carried out.

Chocolate Curry and Coconut Milk with White Chocolate sauce over shrimp by Teams Addicted to Curry and Epik were crowd favorites for their ethnic foundations, but once again, the use of chocolate wasn’t apparent.

Junior Marina Marcroft created Chocolate Caramel Bars, topped with chocolate chips and coconut. Team Connielisa Chocolate created Millionaire’s Shortbread, with a crumbly base and smooth layers. Both of these creations were reminiscent of the elegance of afternoon tea.

The “cooking” of these dishes were done within the first ten minutes of lunch, leaving the rest of the time for hungry students to attempt to get some food. A giant mob of hungry people swarmed the teams like ants. The lack of organization allowed the privileged few to cut in line and savor the few bites of food while the rest of the crowd watched with empty bellies. Even the atmosphere was dull. The vibrant sounds and smells usually associated with cook-offs were gone; reds peppers, bright oranges and the sounds of sizzling traded for muted dark browns and the sound of silence. On the bright side, the cook-off did feature some very entertaining emcees: juniors Yeshar Hadi and Jordan Lim. They lightened up the atmosphere and had those who were listening laughing. 

After voting, the Mini Oreo Cheesecakes reigned supreme, and Ziegler won a $50 gift certificate to the restaurant of her choosing.

When the bell rang and lunch ended, many students hurled themselves into the unforgiving weather cold and hungry. And the circumstances wouldn’t have changed the outcome. A little rain on the parade doesn’t mean it will all come crashing down. Now all there is to do is turn on the telly and watch some Iron Chef America. Viva Bobby Flay!