On May 18, dietetic interns from Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University competed in their annual end-of-the-year cooking competition. Lorraine Danowski, Associate Director of the Dietetic Internship, modeled the competition after the popular Food Network TV series “Chopped,” and partnered with the University Hospital foodservice staff to host the competition in its kitchen.
Executive Chef Jim Kellenberger coordinated the Chopped cooking competition with Danowski to get the students ready for this fast-paced kitchen competition. “It’s a lot of pressure for the students to work with a team developing a recipe with mystery ingredients to make a finished dish in one hour. They rose to the challenge and awed the judges with their culinary talents using what they learned throughout the year,” stated Kellenberger.
Fourteen students participated in this team-building activity. Each team was assigned a course and had to use the mystery ingredients provided by Chef Kellenberger in the dish they prepared.
Appetizer: Long Island scallops, root vegetables, enoki mushrooms and guajillo chiles
Entrée: Chicken breast, black rice, baby bok choy and edamame
Dessert: Avocado, coconut milk, chocolate and cashews
Kathleen Logsdon Carrozza, Assistant Director Food and Retail Services, was one of the judges in the competition and explained, “As part of their training the students create special menus for our retail operations and work with our culinary team. During this competition it’s fun to see how they have grown and become more comfortable in a commercial kitchen as well as incorporate their knowledge of health promotion and different food trends.”
The interns were given 10 minutes to plan and an hour to prepare and plate their meal. Afterwards, judges critiqued the food on the basis of taste, creativity, presentation and utilization of ingredients. In addition to Danowski, Carrozza and Kellenberger, the judges also included Terrance Lee, General Manager of Retail Operations, Denise Malandrino, University Hospital Chef and Dr. Howard Sussman, Family Medicine.
“Completing the dietetic internship has been a rewarding experience and despite this challenging time with the pandemic, we’ve had many opportunities to help others and grow through our work,” said Tina Nguyen ‘21.
All of the interns used their time wisely and created delicious meals to impress the judges with their culinary skills. “Stony Brook Dietetic Internship has been a valuable experience. The Chopped competition was a great stress reliever and added a fun factor to the program. We presented an appetizer salad with asparagus, Indian-style carrot slaw, and pan seared scallops,” stated Utpala Kinare ‘21.
Vince Victa ‘21 and Utpala Kinare ‘21 from team “All Fired Up” won for best appetizer; Christopher Pullen ‘21, Allondra Gonzalez ‘21 and William Fenton ‘21 from team “Three’s Company” received accolades for best entrée; and Stevi Greenan ‘21 and Tina Nguyen ‘21 from team “Chop It Like It’s Hot” dazzled the judges with best dessert.
The students graduated from the program on May 19 but created lasting memories. “We are so very appreciative to everyone who has played a part in fostering a very well-rounded learning environment for us. We’ve gained greater professionalism and knowledge. But most importantly, we’ve all developed memorable friendships together through working as a team,” concluded Nguyen.