The five resident halls of the University will gather from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19 in the Downunder Cafe to determine whose culinary skills will prevail in as the Silver Chef. With only 30 minutes to prepare their meal, they must rely on the secret ingredient: ingenuity.
Argenta Hall, Canada Hall, Manzanita/Juniper Halls, Nye Halls and White Pine/Lincoln halls compete in teams of four in what Russ Meyer, associate director of residential life, housing and food services, calls the University's answer to Iron Chef, a culinary television program. Not only is the Silver Chef the University's version of the show, Meyer said it is a form of entertainment for the students at one of the most stressful times of the semester.
"It represents how resident students creative ways to make dinners from what is available," Meyer said. "People also need to have some relaxation and blow off some steam."
The teams are not confined to a secret ingredient as the competitors on the Iron Chef are, but they are limited to using $40 of AdvantageCASH that will be provided for them. The competitors in Silver Chef can only put together a meal from items in the convenient store, only using appliances that are allowed in dormitories, such as a microwave, blender, a popcorn popper and a coffeemaker.
"We aren't forcing them to stick to one ingredient," Meyer said. "There is enough constraint and we didn't want to make it too tough."
The five teams must create a dinner for the four judges: Leonard Walker and Brandi Bernard of student services, Dave Wilson of the nutrition department faculty and Lise Mosel, co-host of the local show Best of Reno.
The participant's entrees will be judged in appearance, taste, nutritional value, creativity and procedures. The categories are based on what the American Culinary Federation uses but with a resident hall twist.
"The categories are based on what the Federation does but also includes what we thought were important characteristics," Meyer said.
The first place winners are awarded Southwest Airlines vouchers, which were popular in other competitions, Meyer said. The second place team wins four iPod shuffles, and the third place team is presented with a $50 credit for each team member at the ASUN bookstore. Other awards include $25 AdvantageCash and four movie tickets.
"We tried to pick things we knew the students would like," Meyer said.