by the popular Japanese television import, a Pomona dining hall was converted
twice last spring into a culinary coliseum, as student competitors duked
it out with spatulas and frying pans for prizes and the opportunity to
take on a professional chef in the ultimate college cook-off.
The competitors in Cast Iron Chef had to create dishes using
at least one of four theme ingredients: salmon, chicken, shrimp or scallops.
Each participant was allowed to bring an assistant and up to two secret
ingredients. A panel of judges evaluated the results based on taste, creativity,
appearance and use of the theme.
Ryan Wilson 03, a senior studying philosophy, politics and economics,
brought neither an assistant nor secret ingredients to the contest. What
he did bring was an insuperable advantageexperience as a cook at
a Beverly Hills restaurant. Wilsons winning entry included chicken
Alfredo, sauteed salmon with wine and mashed potatoes, and Thai salad
with shrimp and scallops. It was simplicity, Wilson said of
his victory. I didnt have to do too much.
Wilson went on, a week later, to win the cook-off versus professional
chef Michael Williams, director of the Frank Dining Hall. The winning
entry included alligator steak with Cajun rub over corn pudding, with
a cream sauce of okra and tomato.