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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Students compete for spot on team


While the rivalry between Rice and UH heats up in a head-to-head matchup for the third annual chili cook-off at the next football game, the first seeds of competition began on Thursday at the University Center food court area with a student cooking challenge.

According to UH Marketing Coordinator Billy Garner, the cooking challenge was created to find two UH students who had enough cooking expertise to join the executive chefs at the chili cook-off competition for the game.

The challenge consisted of two stages. In the first stage, meat butchering, contestants were given five minutes as they cut uniform, one-half inch cubes from two pounds of sirloin.

In the second stage of the competition, vegetable fabrication, participants had five minutes to peel and dice three onions into uniform one-fourth inch pieces.

Both events were timed and judged on cleanliness of work area, uniformity of the size and the shape of the vegetables.

Students Vernon Jeffries, Victoria Kinabo and Cesar Merino prepare for the competi- tion as Chef Brent Gorman explains the rules. | Johnny Peña/The Daily Cougar

Students Vernon Jeffries, Victoria Kinabo and Cesar Merino prepare for the competi- tion as Chef Brent Gorman explains the rules. | Johnny Peña/The Daily Cougar

Six competitors participated in the challenge, split into two teams of three. Winners included Adam Ling, Jeffrey Clark and Victoria Kinabo.

The prizes consisted of two different trophies, the Judge’s Choice and the People’s Choice. The judging panel consisted of five judges, with two from UH, two from Rice, and one neutral. The taste testing was done blindfolded. In the first cook-off, UH won both Judge’s Choice and People’s Choice, bringing home the People’s Choice award in the second competition.

“It’s a rivalry between the two schools,” said Amber Arguijo, the marketing coordinator for dining services.

UH is also the only school to have student participants involved in working with the executive chef at the cook-off, while Rice uses only professional chefs.

“With winning People’s Choice the past two years, it seems like our students are better than Rice’s professional chefs,” said Marketing Coordinator Maria Honey.

Students can catch the chili cook-off at the home game Oct. 27 at 12:30 p.m. when the competition begins, and judging will take place at 4:30 p.m. at the tailgating area before the game.

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