Life on Campus / Spring 2017
Student Chefs Do Battle

Tasty appetizer earns U of T second place in international cooking competition

Backup member Ailin Xi overlooking U of T's Iron Chef team while they are working in the kitchen

This year’s Iron Chef contest took place at U of T. Backup member Ailin Xi, who automatically gets a spot on next year’s Iron Chef team, looks on as her teammates work in the kitchen. Photo: Geoff Vendeville.

In February, three U of T students got a chance to let their foodie flags fly: they took part in the annual Inter-University Student Iron Chef Competition, hosted at U of T for the first time. U of T executive chef James Piggott coached students Felipe Branco, Brettany Colette and Jordan Su in preparation for the high-pressure cook-off against teams from McGill University, University of Ottawa and University of Massachusetts Amherst.

On competition day, each team was given two-­and-a-half hours to create an appetizer and a main course, incorporating ingredients that had only been revealed to them the night before. The U of T team’s main dish, an Indian-­styled ramen, fell a bit short on flavour, according to the judging panel – but their gravlax (a cured salmon) drew unanimous praise, earning them the best appetizer prize.

Overall, the U of T chefs placed a close second behind UMass Amherst, the defending champions. “I’m very proud of my team,” says Colette. “They’ve taught me a lot, and I’m grateful for the experience.”

Watch: The Iron Chef 2017 finale

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