Imitating the Food Network’s television series, the Student Activities Council held an Iron Chef Appetizers competition to determine the greatest chefs at Mercyhurst College.
On Saturday, Sept. 26, student chefs had an hour and a half to prepare appetizers for student judges to sample and vote on. According to several walk-in student judges, they came for free food and were not disappointed.
Tables filled with ingredients and hot plates lined the perimeter of the Herrmann Student Union Great Room. Music played in the background while judges watched and listened. The cooks prepared appetizers and spoke openly about their recipes, revealing the secret ingredient of the competition: Swedish Fish.
The recipes included chicken burritos with a sauce that included melted Swedish fish, two recipes for buffalo chicken dip, sweet potatoes and fruit salsa, and a French dish called préfout, a type of bread baked with garlic and olive oil.
The chefs had interesting reasons for competing.
While stirring her buffalo chicken dip, sophomore Meghan Hess said of her and her partner, junior Chris Ulrich, “We’re both from Buffalo, so we have some secret techniques. We have some pretty good competition, but we’re not sweating over this. [We’ve] got this in the bag.”
“I have always liked to cook, and I always like to experiment,” said freshman Demi Boeltz.
Freshman Hannah Beck said, “Actually, I was really excited for the free apron.”
The chefs were not the only ones to enjoy themselves.
Freshman Alison Palimeri said she enjoyed Hess’s and Ulrich’s buffalo chicken dip, and several other student judges went back for seconds of the fruit salsa prepared by Boeltz and freshman Amanda Stafford.
After the judges tried all of the appetizers, the winners were announced.
Third place went to freshmen Hannah Merrill and Aldyn Stewart, whose buffalo chicken dip earned them each $10 gift certificates to Wegmans.
Juniors Christine Appell, Christine Lichtinger and Katie Wise earned $10 gift certificates to Wegmans for winning second place with their chicken burritos.
First place was awarded to freshmen Hannah Beck and Lucas Sageot, who borrowed their recipe from Sageot’s native region of France. His préfout won the pair two $25 gift certificates to Wegmans.
“This just makes you feel like you did something,” Sageot said about winning.
The Iron Chef Appetizers competition concluded with the winners going home with gift certificates, and the judges leaving with full stomachs.