BU Dining Services Spices Up Typical Cafeteria Food In Campus Chef Competition

Feb. 28, 2003
News Photo 1157Baylor executive chef Jim Jorgenson garnishes a plate with rosemary. Jorgenson captured the campus chef title.

by Amanda Lewis, Student Newswriter

On your marks, get set, COOK! Executive chefs from Baylor and Trinity University in San Antonio faced off in a battle of ingredients, seasoning and sautéing at the Campus Chef Competition, Friday, Feb. 21, in Memorial Dining Hall. Baylor Executive Chef Jim Jorgenson challenged his competitor, Trinity Executive Chef Gustavo Cisneros, to the preparation of a complete meal to be sampled by a panel of five judges and a packed audience. The competition was sponsored by Baylor Dining Services.

After entering the "Kitchen Stadium," the two men took their places and braced themselves as emcee Dr. Tony Talbert, Baylor professor of education, revealed the theme ingredient. Jorgenson and Cisneros were given 30 minutes to prepare a meal of their choice that included pork loin, this year's required "theme ingredient." The chefs were assisted by Baylor Dining Services employees Andrew Ammon and Joel Ihire.

"Chef Jim and Chef Gustavo are creative and talented Executive Chefs who are accustomed to working in a large professionally furnished and designed kitchen," Talbert said. "These two culinary artists were asked to create masterpieces, before an audience of 200 or more persons, in a stadium kitchen that couldn't have been more than 20 feet by 8 feet. These two men overcame the space limitations and created the illusion that they were indeed working in a 'kitchen stadium.'"

Memorial Dining Hall rivaled the set of a cable cooking program with elaborate lighting, dramatic music and banter between Talbert and Ben Hernandez, who served as commentator throughout the competition. Hernandez was posted behind the counter and explained the chefs' techniques and strategies to the audience.

As the clock continued to dwindle down, Talbert encouraged audience participation and humor, while the chefs completed the presentation of their dishes.

At the end of the 30 minutes, Jorgenson's grilled pork chops and Cisneros' stuffed pork loin were submitted to the five judges to be critiqued on presentation, taste and overall quality. The panel of judges from Baylor University included: Dr. Frank Shushok, associate dean for Campus Living & Learning; Dr. Richard Easley, professor of marketing; John Hill, external vice president of student government; Bradley Pierce, internal vice president of student government; and Dr. Tom Hanks, professor of English.

While the judges made the final decision, audience members were given samples of the chefs' work (including this writer, who agrees both men should be given rave reviews!). The results were tallied after 15 minutes and handed to Talbert to be announced. The crowd rose to their feet for a standing ovation as he declared Baylor chef Jorgenson the winner and presented him with the Campus Chef Medallion.

"This event appealed to three essential ingredients that make humans happy - Food, Fellowship, and Fun competition," Talbert said. "I think we have the recipe for something that we'll see again at Baylor and perhaps in the Waco community at-large. We're taking Campus Chefs on the road sometime in April as we make our way to the Kitchen Stadium of Trinity University where Executive Chef Jim will defend his Supreme Campus Chef's crown from the challenger Executive Chef Gustavo."

Baylor Dining Services began making major changes to its program last June when Jorgenson was hired. Since then Memorial has been the first college cafeteria in the nation to implement the "Real Food on Campus" program which incorporates freshly prepared meals and a restaurant-style atmosphere into the college dining experience. Since the program began, Memorial has seen incredible success, and plans for Collins and Penland dining halls are now in progress.

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