Sustainably minded UCSB students will be channeling their inner “Iron Chef” tonight while competing in the quarterly Green Chef contest, a student-run sustainable cook-off.
With a sprinkle of organic ingredients and dash of locally-grown produce, contestants will attempt to concoct a creative, tasty and visually appealing dish while integrating a “secret ingredient.” The contest, which is hosted by the Associated Students Environmental Affairs Board’s Sustainable Foods Committee, is intended to test students’ environmentally friendly cooking skills, and will begin in the MultiCultural Center Lounge at 5:30 tonight.
Competitor Anthony Rum, a third-year business economics and environmental studies major, said he is looking forward to the challenge, which was a hit among the student body when it debuted Winter Quarter.
“I’m excited,” Rum said. “I have the secret ingredient already and I’ve got a few ideas of what I’m going to cook, but I’m still not sure. Last quarter everyone brought so much good stuff, so it’ll definitely be some good competition.”’
Although inspired by the Food Network’s popular series “Iron Chef,” Green Chef participants are not challenged with a time constraint or forced to work under the scrutiny of judges.
After picking up the “secret ingredient” from the Isla Vista Food Co-Op, competitors are given a week to create their chosen dishes, which must each yield 40 samples for judges and tasters. All dishes must be vegetarian and brownie points will be given to completely vegan entries.
A number of the competition’s sponsors — the local Farmer’s Market, Whole Foods, Gelson’s and Lazy Acres — are local businesses that have donated the secret ingredient. Additionally, the winner of each category — creativity, taste and appearance — will receive a $25 gift card to the I.V. Food Co-Op.
For three dollars, those lacking culinary skills or hungry for green cuisine can participate in the competition as judges.
Green Chef coordinator, a third-year communication major, said evaluating the entries is a delectable way to get involved.
“We want everyone to have fun creating, tasting and experimenting with delicious, organic, locally grown food,” Roehrick said. “And judging all the food is awesome.”
In addition to creating a spirit of friendly competition, EAB hopes to use the event to educate students on the environmental benefits of sustainable, local and organic foods. The culinary contest also aims to increase awareness about the advantages of a vegetarian diet, which include weight loss, improved cardiovascular health and a boosted immune system.