|The Iron Chef gang: from left, Carol Lewis, Chuck Lemke, Michael Castellini, Dave Sikorski, Nancy Tarnai, Frank Eagle, Jennifer Jolis, Jerry Evans, Tony Tillery|
The day kicked off with the competitors in the Iron Chef Cookoff slaving over a common stove in the Wood Center kitchen. Carol Lewis, dean of the School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, and Michael Castellini, dean of the School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, battled to proclaim their prowess in the kitchen. The surf vs. turf challenge found Lewis preparing reindeer and Castellini serving up halibut cheeks.
Lewis was assisted by professional chef Jennifer Jolis of the Community and Technical College's culinary school, and Castellini's helper was Dave Sikorski, head chef for NANA Management Services, the company that manages all dining services at UAF.
At 11 a.m., the teams had 20 minutes to plate up their specialties in front of a live audience in the Wood Center lounge area. Judges were from the Midnight Sun Chefs Association: Chuck Lemke, Tony Tillery and Frank Eagle. Judging was based on appearance, taste, locally grown and other factors.
Throughout the event, Jerry Evans of KUAC kept everything lively as the emcee.
In the end, "Team Halibut" won the competition but the judges admitted it was a really tough decision.
|Michael Castellini preparing food in the Wood Center kitchen.|
"I was a little worried in the beginning of this whole thing," said Jolis. She ended up enjoying the cookoff immensely.
Asked if it helped to have the professional chefs on their side, both Lewis and Castellini said it was a definite bonus. "It's the only way," Castellini said. "We'd be lost without them," Lewis said.
|Iron Chef judges confer. From left, Frank Eagle, Tony Tillery, Chuck Lemke.|
While Castellini and Sikorski got the birch spatulas all the judges went home with fresh lettuce and microgreens from Johnson Family Farm.
"The Great Alaskan Berry Hunt."
|From left, Martha Westphal, Jeopardy Game coordinator, Shelley Cotton, SFOS grad student, Benjamin Rance, SNRAS grad student and Thomas Grant, emcee.|
The graduate students won, and were rewarded with "Nooks with Hooks" sweatshirts donated by SFOS. Consolation prizes of lettuce and herbs went to the professors.
|Spencer Douthit of Calypso Farm and Ecology Center presented information about growing local food and school garden programs.|
Alaska Center for Natural Medicine
Alaska Youth for Environmental Action
Calypso Farm and Ecology Center
Chena Fresh/Chena Hot Springs Resort (provided tomato basil soup)
UAF Cooperative Extension Service
Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market
Farm to School
Growing Ester's Biodiversity
Johnson Family Farm
UAF Rural Nutrition Services
UAF Student Counseling & Health Center
UAF Reindeer Research Program
UAF Anthropology Society (petition for local food on campus; to sign the petition, contact Azara Mohammadi)
|Beets looked beautiful under the skilled hands of Dining Services staff.|
Nationally, Food Day is celebrated Oct. 24, but UAF got a jump on the event due to scheduling conflicts.
The Food Day Principles
1. Reduce diet-related disease by promoting safe, healthy foods
2. Support sustainable farms and limit subsidies to big agribusiness
3. Expand access to food and alleviate hunger
4. Protect the environment and animals by reforming factory farms
5. Promote health by curing junk food marketing to kids
6. Support fair conditions for food and farm workers
UAF marks Food Day with full menu of events, Fairbanks Daily News Miner, Oct. 18,2012, by Mary Beth Smetzer