Campus News

Polar Chef Competition: Where's the Beef? In Everything, Even Dessert

Story posted March 04, 2010

Culinary interpretations of beef tenderloin, variations on asparagus, and ice cream — carnivore-style — were parts of the 2010 Polar Chef competition, held Wednesday, March 3, 2010, in Thorne Dining Hall.

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Now in its seventh year, the Polar Chef competition is a timed contest in which teams of four prepare an appetizer, entrée and accompaniments, all of which must include a secret ingredient that is revealed moments before the start.

Team "We Spicy" comprised students Larkin Brown '10, Elisa Gutierrez '10, Champ Seritrakul '11 and Drew Trafton '10 — all of whom work for Dining Service.

Team Faculty/Staff was made up of Head Football Coach Dave Caputi, Associate Professor of Government/Asian Studies Henry Laurence, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Eric Morin and Professor of Government Allen Springer.

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Team "We Spicy" (L. to r.): Drew Trafton '10, Elisa Gutierrez '10, Champ Seritrakul '11 and Larkin Brown '10.

Associate Dean of Admissions Elmer Moore served as emcee.

Following introductions, the secret ingredient — beef tenderloin — was revealed to the teams and Thorne Hall diners.

The pressure of just what to create, given an assortment of ingredients and 60 minutes on the clock, presented the biggest challenge for Larkin Brown.

"Being able to think on your toes, think creatively and think about what things go together — speaking as somebody who doesn't really find comfort in the kitchen — and just being able to take risks," she said.

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Faculty/Staff Team (L. to r.): Associate Professor of Government/Asian Studies Henry Laurence, Head Football Coach Dave Caputi, Professor of Government Allen Springer and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Eric Morin.

We Spicy emerged from their huddle with a menu of autumn spinach salad with apples and beef, roast tenderloin with Thai red curry, paella de carne and roasted asparagus.

The Faculty/Staff team, led by Coach Caputi came up with a game plan of spinach salad with orange sesame beef, and marinated grilled beef tenderloin with roasted potato medley and steamed asparagus.

The team seemed decisive in their planning, but Springer said he could have used more time.

"I could have used six hours," he joked, "I take a lot of time to cook."

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In a Hail Mary move that delighted the crowd, the team also plated glace au boeuf (an ice cream cone with a tenderloin garnish), a last-minute entry when they saw the student team had made an apple crepe for dessert.

The panel of four judges included Student Activities Program Advisor Megan Brunmier, Director of Student Life and the Smith Union Allen Delong, Visiting Professor of Sociology Sarita Gaytan, and Senior Capital Gifts Officer & Special Advisor to the President for College Relations Richard Mersereau.

When every dish was tasted, the Faculty/Staff team — with its meat-trimmed ice cream cone and all — would emerge the 2010 Polar Chef victors.

The competition was organized by Bowdoin Dining Service/Data Coordinator David Burgess.

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Beef tenderloin, the secret ingredient.

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