UConn dining chefs compete in 20th Culinary Olympics

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UConn chefs tested their skills by participating in a Chopped-esque competition in Rome Commons.  File photo/The Daily Campus

UConn chefs tested their skills by participating in a Chopped-esque competition in Rome Commons. File photo/The Daily Campus

The 20th Culinary Olympics at the University of Connecticut, which took place on Jan. 14 in the Lewis B. Rome Commons, presented chefs with an opportunity to test their creativity when given a Boiling Point Mystery Basket to use. 

The eleven participating teams were all presented the same ingredients: Frog legs, porcini mushroom powder, pistachios, cornbread, chia-raspberry jam, French meat pie and oat milk. With these resources, each team was required to craft three tapas dishes before presenting the results to the judges. 

First place for this Boiling Point competition was awarded to the Gelfenbien Commons & Halal team number two consisting of Amy Gronus, Donna Johnston and Charlie String. For their tapas, they presented pistachio-encrusted hopping pops with tropical salsa, a Canadian burger with balsamic cranberry reduction and jalapeño cornbread bellini. 

Second place was given to the Union Street Market team featuring Kyle Davis, Keith Gilbert and Dan Malinak. They prepared lollipop frog legs with raspberry chia barbecue carrot slaw, Asian beef wonton with chili soy mixed green and toasted pumpkin seed and chili-spiced cornbread with raspberry chia whipped cream and pistachio brittle. 

The Whitney team number three consisting of Jennifer Anderson, Ann Marie Meres and Lynn Zanlungo secured third place. The team crafted cornbread dressing “from the river,” Frenchmeat scotch egg with oat milk beurre blanc and raspberry chia zabaglione with candied pistachios. 

Additionally, individual recipe contests were held. These contests were held for appetizers, entrees and desserts. Individual chefs entered these recipe contests unaffiliated with their respective dining halls. 

For the appetizers, first place was awarded to Bill McKay’s wonton quartet, second place was awarded to Donna Johnston’s ceviche style shrimp cocktail and third place was awarded to Alexis Saucier’s beet and radish salad. 

For the entrees, first place was awarded to Kyle Davis’s braised oxtail ragu over blue cheese polenta, second place was awarded to Kathy Halgren’s roasted rack of lamb with sweet potato orzo and third place was awarded to Lucinda Simms’ jerk chicken with mango slaw. 

For the desserts, first place was awarded to Alexis Saucier’s ruby and gold, second place was awarded to Curtis Bangs’ going green milkshake and third place was awarded to Sarah Rose’s maple pecan baklava with cranberry coulis. 

Finally, a distinction was made for the honorable mention for the title of best plate overall. This distinction was given to Gelfenbien’s team number one Curtis Bangs, Gary Ellis and Lucinda Simms for their Crepe ala Curtis. 


Thomas Alvarez is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at thomas.alvarez@uconn.edu

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