The fifth annual Great Lucas Hall Cook-Off was held on Dec. 5 this year. An appetizer and dessert round were available for groups to compete in. A total of 25 teams and packed the Wortmann Ballroom in Colket at 5:30 p.m.
The Great Cook-Off was a roaring success this year as teams and audience members rolled. Only standing room was left after the first ten minutes of the start of each round. The panel of judges this year included President and Mrs. Maxey, Dean and Mrs. Smith, Dr. Charlene Kalinoski, Chef Phillips, Chef Murtagh, Mrs. Sheri Poore, and Dr. Whitney Leeson.
The judges relied on presentation, taste, and creativity when judging the entrees in each round. Along with the judge’s scores, the audience members were asked to sample the entrees after the food was presented to the judges and then text in their vote.
Nine teams competed in the appetizers round. First place for appetizers went to the French group for their entry of coquilles saint-jacques. The Italian team came close, placing in second with their entry of raviolini al brodo. Finally, the third place appetizer went to an all faculty team from the History Department representing Spanish cuisine with their entry of causa rellena.
Other teams in this category included the German team with konigsberger klopse, the Japanese team with Japanese Curry, and a Chinese team presenting dumplings. The other three teams for the appetizer round were two other Spanish teams presenting gazpacho and Mexican cornbread , and another Italian team with insalta caprese.
In the appetizer round, participants walked up the main aisle with a sample for each judge on their tray. One student would present their food to the audience over a microphone while the others handed plates to the judges. After all teams did this, a short break occurred for audience members to go and taste the appetizers from the teams and to text in votes for their favorites. After the appetizer round was over, audience members and judges changed gears for the dessert round.
A total of 16 teams presented food during the dessert rounds this year. Due to the overflow in the ballroom, teams 9-16 actually gave out samples of their food in the President’s Dining Room. Once again, the first placers winners in the dessert category were the French team with their presentation of classic macarons. The Russian team came in close, with their kulich getting them second place. Third place was awarded to an Italian team for their tiramisu cupcakes.
Once again, for this round, the teams walked up the main aisle in the ballroom and handed the judges samples while explaining their dessert. In this category, there were three more Italian teams. They served granita alla frutta, panna cotta, and tiramisu, respectively. In addition to the winning French team, three more teams represented French desserts with their samples of galette des rois, napoleons, and paris-brest. Three Spanish teams gave out samples of tres leches, churros, and tembleque, while The Japanese team presented mochi ice cream. Two more teams represented German cuisine with apfelstrudel and spiegeleierkuchen.
At the end of the sampling, the judges deliberated and announced the winners. Along with the three winners for each category, the coordinators also selected a winner for the “Coordinator’s Choice Award,” which was given to the German team with their desert Spiegeleierkuchen. This was a fried egg April Fools cake.
Water and hot chocolate were made available to the audience members before, during, and after the tasting. This event was sponsored by the Department of Modern Languages at RC. The Great Lucas Cook-Off this year was held in dedication for Roanoke’s late Chef Bob Prophet.