Hospitality students battle for charity

Two Mercyhurst students will go head to head in a cooking battle, as seen in Food Network’s “Chopped.”

The hospitality department will host a student version of the TV series on Tuesday, April 15, at 6:30 p.m.

The event will take place at the Marriott Café, located in the lower level of the Center for Academic Engagement.

Hailing from Ontario, Canada, Junior Food and Beverage major, Ethan Sykes will go up against Erie native, Senior Food and Beverage major, Steve Balkovic.

Beth Ann Sheldon, associate professor of Hospitality Management, views them both as worthy participants for the competition.

“[Sykes] has worked quite a bit in the industry as a chef. That is his ambition, his passion, he really enjoys it. He is a very talented young man,” said Sheldon. “[Balkovic] is a very creative chef, very fun young man who has a great career ahead of him.”

All visitors are required to pay a five dollar entrance fee, with all proceeds going to the March of Dimes charity of Erie.

The Hospitality Management Association (HMA) and the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) of Mercyhurst, raise money for different charities throughout the year.

March of Dimes is the charity chosen for this spring.

March of Dimes is a charity that assists mothers during their pregnancies and they research pediatric health issues.

They raise money to support children who have been born prematurely and/or with birth defects.

Sheldon encourages students to attend the show to not only have a good time, but also support the charity.

“We’re having some fun, we’re helping raise money for a worthy charity, and we are giving the students an opportunity to learn to do something that they are familiar with on TV… These are very skilled students, their culinary skills are very good, it will be very entertaining,” said Sheldon.

A day before “Chopped” on April 14, Mercyhurst North East will host their own cooking competition. In this occasion, students will recreate another Food Network show titled, “Iron Chef.”

Several culinary students will compete against each other with no other purpose, but to entertain the students of North East.

To make reservations for the Mercyhurst Main “Chopped” competition, email Allyson Minor at

Due to limited spacing, there is room for only 60 people.

Reservations are required to attend the show.