An exciting student competition, Iron Chef Neilson, offered through Rutgers Dining Services and organized by the RU Healthy Dining Team, was held on March 27 at the Neilson Dining Hall. Students with a meal plan for the current semester were encouraged to compete and showcase their innovative dining hall creations to a panel of four judges.
The judging panel included Xenia Morin, professor in the Department of Plant Biology and undergraduate program director for Agriculture and Food Systems; Christopher Gunning, registered dietitian for the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH) and Rutgers Student Health Services; Judy Storch, distinguished professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and the campus dean for SEBS; and Neilson’s own Chef Jeff Fisher.
Participants created dishes, within 20 minutes or less, using only foods and equipment available in the dining hall serving area. Not only were the participants competing for positive critiques of their dishes from the panel of judges, they were also competing for a chance to win a 1st place prize of a professional cookware set, a 2nd place prize of a professional bakeware set, and a 3rd place prize of a $25 RU Express gift card. Student dishes were judged on taste, creativity, practicality, presentation, sanitation and how well they adhered to Menus of Change Principles, which have to do with healthy, sustainable, delicious food choices.
Results for the 2019 Neilson Dining Hall Iron Chef Competition are as follows: In 1st Place was Sydney Weyl with his Vegan Ratatouille; 2nd Place was Aja Brown-Feliciano with her Spicy Waffle Crisp; and in 3rd Place was Nathan Olson with his Tortilla Panini. All participants received a certificate of participation signed by Peggy Policastro, supervisor of the RU Healthy Dining Team and director of Behavioral Nutrition for Rutgers Dining Services and the IFNH.
Big shout out to all our creative participants, judges, and staff who helped make this event a success!