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School chefs compete for bragging rights - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

School chefs compete for bragging rights

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NORTHFIELD, Vt. -

A menu makeover was in the works at Norwich University Wednesday.

"I am serving cocoa and chili-rubbed steak tips with potatoes O'Brien topped with a bacon salt," said Greg Demers, the executive chef at Daniel Webster College.

More than a dozen chefs from colleges across New England filled the campus kitchen for a head-to-head cook-off.

"The meal is unique. The meal is sushi for roughly 1,800 people today, so we'll roll anywhere between 500 and 700 rolls that you have to be able to serve with no lines. So far, so good," said Richard Ducharme, the executive chef at Keene State College.

At this culinary showdown, hungry cadets were ready to dig in.

"I had the tacos, the pulled pork on the potato thing, the chicken and pineapple," said Emily Baugus, a senior at Norwich.

And the lunchtime favorites depended on who you asked.

"Right now I like the steak best, but I'm from Texas," Baugus said.

"I tried a little bit of everything: the pineapple and chicken, the tacos, pulled pork," said Jessica Zaweski, a senior at Norwich. "My favorite was actually the sushi; I had to get another plate."

Win or lose, these chefs say the decision to participate was a simple one.

"If you don't love what you do and get your blood pumping for this kind of event in a big school with a big appetite, then you're missing out, probably doing the wrong thing anyway," Ducharme said.

"I get to meet all the other chefs in the company, we do really well," Demers said. "You get new ideas, you keep on going and I get to serve our future military, too."

Future military who may be more used to dressing in uniform than a chef's coat.

"To be honest I am a terrible cook," Zaweski said. "So I'm going to need some really good lessons in how to cook, but I would love to try and cook some of these things."

Lessons they may have just found on this one of a kind trip to the dining hall.

World Learning in Brattleboro took first place for its Barbecue Pork Nachos. Norwich's roasted sirloin came in second and Keene State's chicken sushi placed third.

All of the offerings were designed to be friendly for folks with food allergies.

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