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Top college chefs converge on UMass Wednesday

Six chefs from universities around the country known for their food set their sights on the University of Massachusetts Wednesday, in an Ultimate Chef Showdown sponsored by UMass Dining Services.

The chefs, who came from the University of Missouri, San Diego State, the University of Richmond duked it out against UMass at Berkshire Dining Commons from 5 to 9 p.m. as part of the Visiting College Chef Series Special.

According to a University Media Relations release, the chefs were to prepare 16 dishes highlighting student favorites from the four schools. Each school had its own station, where they prepared two entrees, one starch and a vegetable.

Mizzou’s executive chef, Eric Cartwright, went for a heartland theme, cooking up some pulled pork and grilled chicken with skillet vegetables and sweet potato gratin.

San Diego State’s chief chef, Dave Hughs, served some specials with Southern California flavor, like carne asada beef and seafood service, with south of the border Mexican rice and hot carrots.

Atlantic 10 rival Richmond’s executive chef Glenn Pruden served some southern hospitality, cooking guests beef bistro tender, collard greens with ham hocks and shrimp and grits.

Meanwhile, UMass’ own Tony Jung of Berkshire went with some traditional New England fare; seared cod with corn chowder sauce, traditional chicken pot pie, spinach pilaf and grilled asparagus.

Ken Toong, executive director of dining and retail services, said in the media relations release that the event should show students some flavors other schools serve.

“This should be a fun event,” he said, “our UMass students will be in for a treat and it will be a great way to create excitement before finals.”

“I believe there is so much talent among our chefs in colleges and universities, and many schools are working hard to change the perception of college dining collectively,” he went on.

Toong said he believes college dining services have an undeserved bad reputation, and noted that campus dining has improved.

“Things aren’t what they used to be,” he said, “they are far more delicious!”

Sam Butterfield can be reached at sbutterfield@dailycollegian.com.

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