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October 1, 2007


Allez Cuisine!—CSU Dominguez Hills Hosts
Student Iron Chef Competition

WHAT: Toro Iron Chef

WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 4, 6 p.m.

WHERE: Palm Courtyard, Loker Student Union on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills. www.csudh.edu/site/VisitUs/Maps.asp.

Carson, CA The battle is on to determine who will reign supreme in California State University, Dominguez Hills’ version of Kitchen Stadium.

On Oct. 4, the Palm Courtyard of the Loker Student Union will be transformed to resemble the set of the popular Food Network series “Iron Chef America” for the first-ever Toro Iron Chef competition. Surrounded by an audience and a panel of judges, and lorded over by “Chairman” Markus Biegle (in real life, vice president of operations for Associated Students, Inc.), four teams of Dominguez Hills students will have one hour to create as many dishes as they can using the featured “secret ingredient.”

Toby Bushee, catering and events manager for Campus Dining Services, which along with the Multicultural Center on campus is sponsoring the event, offered this hint for what the ingredient might be: “It has a lot to do with our mascot.”

Toro Iron Chef will differ slightly from the television show that inspired it. It will take place outside, for one, and will actually be three competitions. The first two rounds (the Oct. 4 event and another in November) will see students competing against students to determine which team will go on to the final round in December and face CSUDH’s own Iron Chef, university Executive Chef Elder Flores. Flores has been at Dominguez Hills for 10 years, during which time he graduated from Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Pasadena.

Then there is the matter of the student competitors’ cooking abilities. None are professional chefs like the ones who are on “Iron Chef America.” Bushee, who started a similar competition at Pomona College while employed there several years ago, said there is no cause for alarm: He met with each team member to assess their cooking knowledge and ensure they knew their way around a kitchen. Executive Chef Flores also will be on hand during those first rounds to mentor the student chefs.

Each cooking station in CSUDH’s Kitchen Stadium will come complete with all essential cooking equipment and ingredients, and most of those ingredients will be sliced and diced and ready to go, Bushee said. Contestants will have a chance to become familiar with their station four hours before the competitions, and as an added bonus, they will be told the secret ingredient one hour before the countdown clock begins.

Bushee said the competition is about more than determining who the best cook is.

“It’s really geared for fun,” Bushee said. “It’s a chance for students to do something fun with the people they go to classes with. We wanted to do something that really added to student life here. This is something where the students are actually a part of the entertainment. Now that’s student life.”

The competition is also serving to promote a new degree program focused on sports, entertainment and hospitality that is being offered through the College of Business Administration and Public Policy.

“We hope this will draw students into the hospitality program,” Bushee said. “We want this to be the stepping stone for that.”

The four teams competing in the first round of Toro Iron Chef Oct. 4 are as follows:
Team Vasquez — Roberto Vazquez, Angie Anderson and Carol Shimazu
Team Delancy — Delancy Christion, Kevin Powers, Joy Owens and Jesse Sandoval
Team Tournants — Kimberly Ngyen, Greg Marshall, Marcus Tanner and Maiden Barra
Team Butterflies — Tiffany Rogers, Mario Marino, Watana Patton and Sharlen Smith.

Judging their culinary abilities will be CSUDH President Mildred García; interim Vice President of Advancement Greg Saks; Vice President of Administration and Finance Mary Ann Rodriguez; Academic Programs staff member Maya Banda; Assistant Professor Natasa Christodoulidou, who is coordinator of the new sports and hospitality program; and Travis Kamiyama, a CSUDH alumnus and chef/owner of Kamiyama Sushi in Ontario and Orange, and Genesis by Kamiyama in Osaka, Japan.

For more information about the competition, contact Toby Bushee at (310) 243-3814.

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About CSU Dominguez Hills -- California State University, Dominguez Hills is a highly diverse, urban university located in the South Bay, primarily serving the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The university prides itself on its outstanding faculty and friendly, student-centered environment. Known for excellence in teacher education, nursing, psychology, business administration, and digital media arts, new degree programs include computer science, criminal justice, recreation and leisure studies, social work, and communication disorders. On campus is the Home Depot Center, a multi-purpose sports complex that hosts world-class soccer, tennis, track and field, lacrosse, and cycling.




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Amy Bentley Smith

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