College’s student chefs gearing up for televised iron chef-style competition
HOUSTON – A student team from San Jacinto College North is preparing to go head to head and pan to pan against students from Houston Community College in “Hot, Hot, Haute,” a high-stakes “iron chef” style cooking contest in which students compete for college scholarships.
The annual student chef competition, sponsored by the Professionals in Culinary Arts, will take place April 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Sysco’s Arena Tandem Kitchens, located at 1390 Enclave Parkway in west Houston.
The event will be televised some time after the contest on the Food Network and on PBS. Area residents who want to be a part of the audience and cheer on the San Jacinto College team can visit www.professionalsinculinaryarts.org for registration and pricing information.
Steve Rudd, San Jacinto College North’s culinary arts department chair, and lead instructor Sean Perrodin (former “Hot, Hot, Haute” judge) are busy preparing the College’s four-person student team for the competition.
The students chosen for the team include Marilu Peralta, who will prepare the appetizer; Blake Halliday, who will prepare the entrée; Martin De Santiago, who will prepare the dessert; and Natalia Balciunas, who will be the expeditor.
Every student in the North campus’ culinary arts program was eligible to try out for the “iron chef” team, but making the final cut was based on challenging criteria. Each student prepared a main course or dessert in a one-hour time limit (just like in a real iron chef contest) and their dishes were judged by the College’s culinary leadership team based on taste, appearance, portion size, and creativity.
“The competing students presented dishes to the judges, and were required to describe their dishes as to the preparation method, ethnic origin, and other culinary features they felt worthy of mentioning,” commented Rudd. “The students were assigned a total score and we chose the top four students based on point totals.”
Other criteria used to select the qualifying students included attitude, class attendance, grades, punctuality, and passion for the culinary arts industry.
Each student on the winning team will receive a $1,000 college scholarship, and each student on the runner-up team will receive a $500 college scholarship.
“We invite community members to support these student chefs, our culinary program, and San Jacinto College by participating in this fantastic event,” remarked Rudd,
who also serves as the vice president of scholarships for the Professionals in Culinary Arts organization.
At the “Hot, Hot, Haute” competition, the student teams from San Jacinto College and Houston Community College will have one hour to produce main and dessert courses from a set of three surprise ingredients and a standard stocked kitchen plus two tandem kitchen setups in an arena stadium environment. A clock counts down the minutes and then seconds. Once the hour is up and the cooking is finished, a panel of noted professional chef judges will receive a set of dishes from each team to taste and complete an evaluation form. The scores are tabulated to determine the winning team.
While the two college student teams are cooking, the judges will be interviewed on the surprise ingredients selected, technique, favorite foods, recipes, and travel. A television crew from the Houston Media Source will tape the event in HDTV for screening numerous times on cable throughout the Houston area on the Houston Media Source Channels.
San Jacinto College offers a wide range of culinary arts degree plans and course options at the North and Central campuses. The North campus is located at 5800 Uvalde in the North Channel area. The Central campus is located at 8060 Spencer Hwy., in Pasadena.
San Jacinto College serves more than 24,500 students in over 140 degrees and certificates in university transfer and technical programs. The College also serves the community through workforce training. Students come with various goals and aspirations and we are committed to their success. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150 or visit www.sanjac.edu.