By Sarah Siock
Rider’s three finest chefs will be virtually serving up their favorite appetizers on Nov. 20 in hopes of being named the winner of 107.7 The Bronc’s Top Chef competition.
Instead of the chefs battling it out in-person at Daly Dining Hall this year, the competition will be virtually coming to the kitchens of Rider students, faculty and staff. From Oct. 26 through Nov. 13, nearly 20 participants submitted a recipe that fell under this year’s theme of family appetizers. Next, a panel of judges, selected by Rider’s food and dining services company, decided the three recipes that would advance to the Top Chef finale.
The Top Chef finalists are senior marketing major David Brooks, with a smoked butternut queso dish, sophomore communications major Francesca Davie’s submission of fried Brussels sprouts stuffed with maple bacon and Toniann Seals, a second-year graduate student studying homeland security, who submitted buffalo chicken empanadas.
“There is a sense of tradition behind Top Chef. This event is a way to bring back some normalcy by still engaging with students and putting on an event as best as we can,” said Production Producer for The Bronc and junior dance performance major Tiffani Britton.
Britton added that the typical format used for the Top Chef competition had to be altered due to the online format this year.
“Normally there would be a taste testing event in the dining hall. However, in the past a lot of times people could not make the event. In some ways the online format is better because more people are going to be able to be involved,” said Britton.
From Nov. 16 to Nov. 20 students will vote for their favorite recipe through The Bronc’s website. Then to finally close out the competition on Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. each finalist will prepare their recipe live via Zoom. The recipe with the most votes at the end of the night will be crowned the student Top Chef.
“I chose to compete because this year has been full of ups and downs, and it is important to do things that may be out of your comfort zone, especially as we have been cooped up all year, it’s an exciting change of pace,” said Davie.
Davie said her passion for cooking and the new recipes she is always creating motivated her to join the competition. She added that the appetizer she submitted to Top Chef gives a yummy twist to the not so popular vegetable Brussels sprouts.
“Everyone’s issue with Brussels sprouts is that they are bitter, but the maple bacon jam cuts the bitterness just enough so you have all these different flavors at once,” said Davie.
While there will only be one Top Chef winner, all three finalists will go home with a prize. The first-place prize is a Starbucks cruiser bicycle and a $250 Starbucks gift card, while second-place will receive a Rockstar Energy Yeti backpack cooler and a year’s supply of Pepsi and third-place will receive a Mountain Dew Aluminum Corn Hole game and a George Foreman grill.
“We have tons of prizes thanks to our fantastic sponsors,” said Britton.
While this year’s Top Chef competition may look different, the student chefs’ love for cooking remains the same.
“Good food brings so much joy, and to have the satisfaction of people loving your food when it’s your own concept and recipe, there’s just no better feeling,” said Davie.
Story published in the 11/18/20 issue of The Rider News.