Campus chefs battle to support food shelf


Izzy Siedman, Assistant Life Editor

Following the culinary aromas, guests young and old entered the candlelit ballroom with an air of hushed excitement.

The Campus Kitchens Project hosted their annual Battle of the Campus Chef’s event April 20 in the Grand Maple Ballroom of the Davis Center.

Students at the event paid $5 to enter, which allowed them to try the dishes being cooked and then vote for their favorite at the end. Each attendee also received one free raffle ticket. Prizes included UVM apparel and baskets of organic food products.

The event “brings the community together around the topic of food,” the UVM Bored website stated.

Chefs from around campus worked with student organizations to create dazzling dishes from locally sourced ingredients, according to UVM Bored.

“Some of these dishes would go for $30 in a restaurant,” a UVM Dining volunteer said, “but here, you can get all of them for only $5 to $10 dollars total.”

All proceeds from the event go to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, which works to provide meals to more than 12,000 people each year, according to its website.

A collage of kitchen photos from the food shelf provided background to the beautiful display of finalized dishes.

Each table featured appetizers and main courses prepared and plated by professionals and students alike.

UVM’s finest chefs gathered around black cocktail tables, socializing, tipping their tall white hats and gesturing to favorite dishes.

The room grew increasingly crowded with people who were milling, munching and mingling.

Guests learned not just about the meals they consumed, but also about the clubs and organizations that made them, like the biochemistry society and the horticulture club.

The bee-costumed representative from the beekeeping club served spicy honey quinoa salad on tiny tortilla shells.

Cuban sandwiches with homemade pickles created by UVM Dining cooks Kristi Griffin and Art Thomas went so fast that chefs scrambled to keep plates on the table.

“I can’t believe this,” first-year Libby Camp said, “that sandwich is delicious.”

Chef Jeff Kirby rapidly plated homemade venison potstickers that he said would “take the trophy home,” winking at his cooking partner, chef Andy Gimrino.

“Oh, they’re winners alright—they have my vote,” Daniel Infantes, assistant manager of Harris Millis dining hall said, pointing at the dumplings.

In addition to the judging panel that decided the official winner of this year’s battle, attendees could write down their favorite dish, voting for a fan favorite.

The University Marché was awarded first prize as both the crowd favorite and the judge’s pick, according to a post on the Campus Kitchens Project Facebook page.

Despite the competitive nature, chefs and opposing clubs laughed and smiled throughout, ardently trying each other’s dishes.

“It’s great that we’re doing events that support our local community,” sophomore Adam Slamin said, “sure beats the Grundle.”