Sizzle, slice and sauté

Meal madness sign surrounded by ingredients used in the competition.

Scents of sizzling entrées filled the Shepherd Union Atrium on Nov. 11 as Weber Dining hosted its annual iron chef-style cooking competition, Meal Madness. Four teams consisting of students and faculty members joined to compete.

The competition included an appetizer, entrée and dessert, each to be prepared by one of the three team members from each of the four teams. The secret ingredients all four teams were required to use were dried jackfruit, fennel and Little Debbie cream sandwich cookies. Other available ingredients included a variety of fruits and vegetables, spices, herbs and proteins.

Teams had one hour to complete the cooking for the three dishes and could bring them up to the judges at any point during the competition. The judges were Weber State alumni who have experience in running and operating restaurants.

Team one, JD’z Kitchen, was representing the WSU spirit squad. Team two, Signpost Street Team, represented The Signpost student newspaper. Team three, What the Fork, was representing faculty. Team four, Loving Our Cooking, was returning to compete for a second time.

Students and spectators cheered on the competitors. The spirit team’s spectators rallied onlookers with a WSU cheer and a backflip.

JD’z Kitchen prepared fried eggplant fingers with ragout for their appetizer, their entrée was bruschetta with prosciutto and chicken teriyaki on the side. Their dessert was a pancake with raspberry coulis and a cream cookie crumble.

The Signpost Street Team’s appetizer included a springtime salad with mushrooms, tomatoes, carrots and the dried jackfruit in a red wine vinaigrette. Their entrée was spicy southwest chicken with a variety of peppers, mushrooms and hot sauce. For dessert, they created a “S’mores Delight”, which had toasted marshmallows, Nutella spread and cream cookies on top of a graham cracker crust.

Loving Our Cooking’s appetizer was the “Tropical Delight”, which had fresh pineapple, orange and dried jackfruit, all sautéed in coconut milk. “Popeye the Sailor Sandwich” was the entrée, a salmon sandwich with spinach and mushrooms. Dessert was upgraded s’mores, a fancy take on the classic campfire dessert.

What the Fork presented the judges with a charcuterie board as their appetizer, followed by a tropical chicken curry for the second course. For dessert, they prepared blueberry lemon and Nutella orange dips.

After some deliberation, the judges ranked the different dishes of the teams and decided the winners.

JD’z Kitchen came out victorious in first place, followed by What the Fork in second place, Loving our Cooking in third place and The Signpost Street Team coming in fourth.

All contestants were given free Weber Dining dollars for their participation in the competition. JD’z Kitchen team members won extra dining dollars and Ninja food processors for their victory.