Submitted by Tonian Morbitt, Assistant General Manager
You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”Well, a few students at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, CA, got lemons and went way beyond lemonade to create desserts, sandwiches, salads, and more.
The occasion was an Iron Chef-style competition organized by the Student Food Committee, and the goal was to give participating students a little taste of what it’s like to be a Bon Appétit chef. Bon Appétit chefs rely on their culinary creativity and seasonal offerings instead of company-issued recipes, and cook from scratch every day instead of opening cans and packages. This takes a lot of skill.
The competitors were tasked with creating a dish using any of the foods available in the café, plus one secret ingredient: lemons. Four contestants, with varying culinary experience, vied for the title of “Iron Chef,” but only one could win. The judges — Junior Class President Orianne Sagrada, Assistant General Manager Tonian Morbitt, and Sous Chef Salvador Ochoa — evaluated the dishes for their creativity, taste, and execution. Freshman Class President Spencer Greene served as emcee, bringing a good balance of humor and gravitas to the competition.
From the moment they donned their chef coats and aprons, the contestants were in motion. Freshman Danyela Zamudio raced to the salad and deli bars, freshman Connor Von Orden went straight for the tortellini, while junior Clinton Munoz hit the grill for chicken. The judges confessed they’d had a hard time deciding the winner, but Clinton took the prize for his chipotle lemon salad, orange-pineapple Julius, and dessert of waffles and ice cream. Students and staff who dined that night all agreed that the entries overall showed a vast amount of creativity. The event was such a success that it’s retroactively been dubbed the first Annual Iron Chef Competition!