Good Food for Oxford Schools hosts third annual Iron Chef competition


Eve Gershon

Junior Emily Hollowell (left) and sophomore Justine Perrier (right) of the Delicious Duo team cook their meal of choice for the Iron Chef competition on April 30.

Eve Gershon, Staff Writer

With the help of a stove and some cooking skills, OHS students recently got the opportunity to make a cooking show their own reality with Good Food for Oxford Schools’ third annual Gospel Choir Showcase and Iron Chef competition.

“Cooking has just been something that has been in my blood since I was born, so I figured this was right up my ally,” junior Nathan Zerangue said.

The competition was held on Sunday, April 30 and consisted of three teams that competed for the opportunity to get their recipe on the Oxford School District cafeteria menu. The team members had to choose their recipe and a fresh food secret ingredient and make their dish for a panel of judges who decided the winner.

Five Oxford High School students competed in the competition. Prior to the cook-off, the students participated in a 10 week culinary training course.

“We met on Tuesdays every week,” sophomore Justine Perrier said. “My mom thought it would be a nice thing for me to do after school.”

The class split up into two groups, Team Tasty Trio and the Delicious Duo. Team Tasty Trio consisted of Zerangue, senior Chante’ Edwards, and junior Dolnesha Morrow, and team Delicious Duo was made up of Perrier and junior Emily Hollowell.

The Delicious Duo decided to make Arroz Con Pollo, or chicken with rice, with zucchini as their secret ingredient, but the Tasty Trio took home the prize with their garlic basil chicken with tomato butter sauce and swiss chard.

“We were just trying to do something somewhat traditional but add a twist to it,” Zerangue said.

Zerangue decided to enter the competition because cooking is not only something that he enjoys doing; it is in his blood.

“It was a family thing,” Zerangue said. “Coming from south Louisiana, cooking is part of your life.”

Perrier, who has been cooking since she was five years old, also decided to join in because of her love for cooking.

“Some people listen to music to meditate. I just like being alone in my kitchen,” Perrier said.

Hoping to bring even more students into the love of cooking, the program director for Good Food for Oxford Schools Eleanor Green believes that the Iron Chef competition gets students excited about the healthy foods that they can find in their cafeteria.

“We added the Iron Chef competition because they are becoming popular throughout school districts across the country to get kids excited about cooking and excited about fresh ingredients,” Green said.

The competition is in its third year and has already brought in many new recipes to the cafeteria’s menu, including fish tacos and sweet potato black bean burgers. Green plans to continue the competition in the future, hoping to broaden its positive results.

“We will continue it,” Green said. “We may separate the two events at some point because they are both getting bigger, but for now we’ll continue to have both the Iron Chef and the Gospel Choir showcase every April. Always on the Sunday of Double Decker Weekend.”