The heat was on as seven teams of students competed against each other in the first round of the Culinary Arts Institute’s Iron Chef Competition on Sunday, November 23.

Participants included Mike Eggers and Paul Smith (Team 1), Paul Solarte and John Bucci (Team 2), Marla Feder and Agatha Kreibel (Team 3), Mike Smith and Debra Stannard (Team 4), Kimberly Garcia and James Chun (Team 5), Anna Keller and DaShawn Anderson-Mabry (Team 6) and Can Usla and Rolene Perumal (Team 7).

Watch this video clip of the fierce kitchen competition:

CAI Chefs judged the final dishes and points were awarded based on taste, texture/doneness, cooking technique, presentation, creativity, use of mystery items, sanitation of work stations and appropriate portions. Each team was required to use two proteins, as well as a variety of items available in the mystery basket, which included celery, red beets, squash, peppers, oranges and onions.

As the competition got underway, the students focused their energies on gathering ingredients and making plans for their dishes. With the clock ticking on, the pace and energy picked up, and the sounds of chopping and sautéing filled the room. Soon, too soon for some, the final moment arrived and the plates were presented to the judges.

After tasting and deliberation, the judges selected Teams 1, 2, 3 and 7 to move to the second round of the competition. Each participating team received a choice of textbook, apron and CAI mug.

Chef Francine Marz shared words of advice from the judges:  “Use the right tools for the job; if you’re not using something, put it away; stay organize; watch the heat and wipe down your work spaces.”

The competition continues with Round 2 on Saturday, January 31! Check back for the results, photos and video!