Cook-off heats up on campus, staff members show off culinary skills

April 27, 2009 by Jenna Candelaria Round Up

Cook-off. (Media Credit: Krista Avila)

Cook-off. (Media Credit: Krista Avila)

An NMSU dean took home first place at the first annual College Cook-Off Challenge held by the school of hotel, restaurant and tourism management (HRTM) Friday at NMSU. Dean Garrey Carruthers and Chef John Hartley had the most original gourmet burger while Interim President Waded Cruzado and Elizabeth Albin took an honorable mention for their burger creation.

“All of the burgers were incredible,” coordinator Jolie Tixier said.

Armed with only salt, pepper, garlic salt and onion powder for seasonings and working with only a small mixing bowl, wax paper, bar towels, a grill, gloves, knives, plates and a cutting board, the seven teams of NMSU administrators and HRTM culinary faculty had 40 minutes to make four burgers. The teams were also allowed to have three special ingredients, such as other spices or seasonings.

The event was open to the public for $10 tickets that included a burger, a beverage and music.

“Each semester the HRTM 443 Meetings, Conventions and Special Events class has to develop and implement a class-lead event,” Tixier said. “Over the last few years, this class has done some type of dinner and this year we decided to do something different.”

The judges were NMSU supporters Jerry and Cyrille Kane, Scott Breckner from NMSU Special Events, Lemongrass Restaurant owner Kimberly Ming, NMSU Police Chief Jaime Chavez and NMSU supporter Barbara Hubbard.

According to the cook-off challenge rulebook, the judges critique the contestants on abiding by all cook-off rules, presentation, creativity and taste.

Students were also instrumental in the organization crisis, Tixier said.

“[The students] have really done a great job in getting everything done,” Tixier said.

“We figured with the event being so close to the end of the semester that we should do something fun and include other colleges in our event,” Tixier said. “The cook-off just seemed like a good way to do just that.”

Teams for the cook-off were as follows:

  • Dean Lowell Catlett with Dr. Greg Blanch
  • Carruthers with Hartley
  • Interim Dean Robert Rhodes with Chef Chris Beardsley
  • Mechanical Engingeering Department Head Tom Burton with Margaret Doherty
  • Cruzado with Albin
  • Interim Dean Mike Morehead with Chef Maurice Zeck
  • Dean Pamela Jansma with Dr. Keith Mandabach

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