Three student teams from The University of Akron (I’m so proud!) competed in the Vegan Iron Chef at Kent State University today. There were plenty of fresh and spicy scents and samples to go around.
Turnout was pretty good. And everyone enjoyed the rice salad, featuring Forbidden Rice, and cellophane noodles with sesame seeds and red onions. Tasty samples!
There was a good discussion about the importance of eating local food and supporting CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), and farmer’s markets. All the chefs used local or organic ingredients, many of which came from the Rootstown farm.
At the professional competition, Don King showed off his recently collected ramps and morels (right). Check out his blog, Don the Mushroom Hunter.
We didn’t stick around for the professional competition, but the excitement and positive energy inspired me to look into entering the competition next year.
First place among the student competition went to team 1, who made an Indian dish with rice, lentils, and butternut squash with a pea, carrot-ginger, tomato raw cocktail. (right, below)
UA’s Garde Manger Club will post all the recipes from the student competition on their Facebook page. I can’t wait to try some of these recipes.
Team 3 took 2nd place with their vegan gyro made with cauliflower, chickpea patties, homemade pitas, and an avocado tzatziki. Yum!
It was a hot competition, and team 2 took 3rd place with a smoky Asian tempeh, eggplant, and rice dish.
Sadly, none of the student chefs were vegan, and only a few of the professional chefs were vegan, though there were some vegetarians in the chef group. But, we were happy to see such a lively, positive, and encouraging crowd for this event. We found the dishes a little over-spiced, but the students probably knew they were appealing to a crowd of meat eaters. They knew their audience.
The presentations were all interesting and fun. The student teams had to use
- local or organic ingredients
- the mystery ingredient, which was green garlic
- a raw dish
Each team prepared their dishes for five judges, and at least 30 samples for the crowd (my favorite part!). Two lucky judges were chosen from the crowd, and they judged each dish based on
- use of local or organic produce
- use of raw ingredients
It was fun to see them calmly and expertly preparing their dishes, and then rushing to “plate” them for the judges. We were so impressed by the student teams. I hope they will continue cooking vegan dishes for themselves and others.