The final dishes of the poultry round of the contest
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - What's in the box? That's what students at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at GRCC are wondering because the Nations Cup is taking place with the mystery food box being at the center.
Five nations are competing in six rounds of cooking and each team is given a box containing an unidentified food item that they will have to cook.
"They have 20 minutes to collect some ingredients and they have an hour and half to cook four plates," explained Angus Campus, an instructor at the institute. Two plates go to the judges and two go to the students watching the competition.
The round we saw was all about poultry, so when the boxes are called in and lifted a whole hen turkey and garbanzo beans are revealed.
"It is a surprise in every category and we tell every student to focus on simple food to focus on the food they know best," explains Mike Kidder associate director.
The students spend their first minutes discussing what they would like on their menu and quickly grab from the open kitchen of items. The open kitchen then closes, leaving the students from US, Canada, Barbados, Scotland and Mexico an hour and half to create their dishes.
"This competition is a great way for international students to express themselves with their food," explains Kidder.
Sounds of chopping, mixing, grating, and boiling fill the kitchen. "You have 24 minutes to cook!" yells Campbell over the crowded room. The students are learning about good time management and cooking under pressure, but this competition boils down to two things says Kidder. "They have to show good culinary technique and good tasting food."
As the final seconds tick away, the food is plated and presented. Every dish looks amazing and was done within the hour and half. The only thing left was to taste and judge. "It is always wonderful what comes out. That is what chefs are about," says Campbell.
The final results of the competition will be awarded Saturday October 19th at 8:30pm.