Students Channel Cat Cora and Emeril in USF Culinary Throwdown

During freshman year at Michigan's Mary Markley Hall, we thought that a cup-a-soup made with lukewarm water from the bathroom faucet, a stale fragel, and a flat Faygo red pop constituted a gourmet dorm room meal. Times have changed. We were lucky to be a guest judge at last week's USF Resident Advisor (R.A.) Culinary Challenge and were blown away by the breadth and sophistication of the cooking.

For the challenge, 21 teams ― each with three R.A.s ― gathered in the school's cafeteria and were tasked with making either a breakfast or lunch item in 30 minutes. A winning team would be chosen from each category, and each team's “kitchen” was a folding table topped with a portable burner.

The contest started, Iron Chef-style, with students gathering ingredients from a vast table covered with typical college nourishment like raw burger patties, dried pasta, and trail mix, along with other items (hunks of blue cheese, Alfredo sauce, a blend of peanut butter chips and mini marshmallows, etc.).

Shockingly, none of the students bum-rushed the buffet. Instead, they quietly lined up to select components. We don't remember waiting patiently in line for anything in college, especially during a competition, but then again we didn't study amongst the Jesuits.

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