Student chefs worked with and learned from some of the best culinary talent in the St. Louis area in SLUH's inaugural Iron Chef competition on February 27. In addition to showcasing local alumni chefs and restaurateurs, the event exposed students to healthy eating that utilizes low impact, flavor-packed foods.
"The event was a great success in that a large number of students and faculty were able to come together and celebrate the rich harvests of the St. Louis culinary community in a fun and entertaining way," says Anne Marie Lodholz, social studies teacher who helped conceive and organize the event.
The competition consisted of two teams, each with one alumnus and three students:
- Team A: Chef Alex Feldmeier '04 of Brasserie, Julian Verde '20, Chris Tyrell '20, Ismail Hacking '20
- Team B: Chef Brendan Kirby '99 of Seed, Sprout, Spoon, Augustus Lodholz '20, Mikes Trittler '19, Darion Mullens '19
The event, which mimicked Food Network's Iron Chef America, provided both teams with like ingredients and 25 minutes to create the most exquisite dish. Just before the competition began, a secret ingredient of shrimp was unveiled. Both teams had to use shrimp in their entrees.
Four judges—including David Laughlin (President), Craig Hannick (Principal), Sean O'Brien (English teacher) and Zach Bievenue '19—determined the winner based on taste, presentation and creativity. Team A won by a hair, with a score of 8.2014 over Team B's 8.1818.
The first event of its kind at SLUH, Iron Chef featured smoke effects and a gong from the arts department, the technology talents of SLUH Sports Network, and the crowd-rallying energy of emcees Adam Cruz and Patrick Zarrick. Held in the west side of the Si Commons, the event was well attended.
Nearly 20 generous sponsors supported SLUH Iron Chef, providing beautiful Asian greens and mushrooms from local grocers like Olive Supermarket and Straub's, and local non-GMO MO tofu, MoFu from Dan Brewer—and much more.
Foods that were not used in the event and ticket proceeds were donated to St. Patrick Center.
"This event combined education, art, food and fun in a most creative way," says David Laughlin. "The engagement of all factions of our community, from students to faculty, parents to professionals across St. Louis, was a great moment. It was fun to be part of it and I'm so glad of the mindfulness of all involved in planning to direct their good efforts to the homeless served by St. Patrick Center."
"It was an enormous success and to think there are so many more SLUH alums that can help our community and to showcase their endeavors was really powerful with a ton of potential," says Tom Zinselmeyer '99, social studies teacher who assisted Lodholz in developing and implementing the event. "To see the kids participating and getting excited preparing healthy, sustainable foods was great to see."
"Lent should be a time to reflect and find new ways to come back to God," says Lodholz. "I hope that as people challenge each other to do this they enjoy the flavors of spring vegetables, the beauty of breaking bread together, and vitality of life that is showcased in all of us and in all of God's creation."
Thanks to SLUH Sports Network for broadcasting the event. (Of note: the audio improves as the video, accessible below, progresses.)