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Hippos Throw Their Weight Around in Iron Chef Competition

Left to right: Chef George Kwasnik, Crystal Lee, Chenghua Jiang, Kelvin Lee

On April 28 four teams each consisting of three Stony Brook students competed in an hour-long Iron Chef cooking competition in which the winning team donated its earnings to the charity of its choice. A team of four judges and members of the crowd anointed the Hungry, Hungry Hippos and their chicken carbonara the winner. A check for $5,000 will be awarded to Stony Brook’s Sunrise Fund by Campus Dining Services.

The members of the Hungry, Hungry Hippos are Crystal Lee, Chenghua Jiang, and Kelvin Lee, who were mentored by Campus Dining Service’s Chef George Kwasnik.

The event took place in the Stony Brook Union Ballroom, which was equipped with every type of kitchen gear the young chefs needed, but the students didn’t learn what they were cooking until an hour before the competition began.

There were only two required ingredients—chicken and fiddlehead ferns.

Each team of three student chefs was supplied with a Campus Dining Services mentor chef who could provide advice but not take part in the cooking or preparation of the food. The teams could use any ingredients they could find in any of the kitchens on campus and were allowed to send their chefs to retrieve those desired items.

A total of four judges scored each team based on appearance, flavor, use of ingredients, and originality. Members of the crowd voted based on the appearance and originality of the dishes each team prepared.

Students and their friends were encouraged to vote for their favorite team to be eligible for the final four competition on the Web site. A total of 127,489 votes were cast between April 16 and 23, which selected the Hungry, Hungry Hippos, the Bull Moose Party, Byahh, and Team Swarley.

Chef Al Alberg said the competition supports the University’s sustainable policy. “All of our waste goes to compost, our paper goods are biodegradable, and our chicken is hormone-free.”

Moderator Vinny Gentile, Director of Marketing for Campus Dining, told all of the competing teams and the large crowd on hand, “While we are thrilled to congratulate the winning chefs, the real winner is the charity of the winning team and the audience for taking part.”

—Glenn Jochum

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