California dining commons host vegetarian cooking competition

The secret ingredient for the challenge was fennel and the winning dish will be featured on March 18 as a dining entrée.

DAVIS, Calif.—On Feb. 24, the UC Davis Dining Commons hosted the Green Chef Challenge. Teams of students, each representing one of the three dining commons — Cuarto, Segundo and Tercero — competed to craft a vegetarian dish using produce from the Student Farm.

At 6 p.m., the secret ingredient was revealed: fennel. The teams had an hour and a half to craft their dish before they were whisked away to Segundo for judgment. On March18, the winning dish will be featured as an entrée in the dining commons.

“I’m really competitive,” said Amanda Nieh, a fourth-year clinical nutrition major. “As soon as I heard ‘cooking competition,’ I knew I wanted to do this.”

Nieh, a contestant on Segundo’s team, said she has plenty of experience cooking — she also holds a job as a teaching kitchen assistant at the Student Wellness Center. Nieh said she saw an advertisement for the event during one of her visits to the dining commons.