Students Vie for Top Chef on Campus
Published: Friday, October 25, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013 02:10
Elizabeth Gromet (COL ’14) and Catherine Gallagher (COL ’14) took the cake Wednesday, winning the inaugural Georgetown University Farmers Market Top Chef competition.
Gromet and Gallagher’s pumpkin cheesecake took first out of 28 entries.
“We never expected to win,” they wrote in a joint email. “We started jumping around and screaming.”
Caroline Cotto (NHS ’14), who serves as the community events co-chair for the farmers market, was taken aback with this year’s participation.
“It was a lot more successful we thought it was going to be,” Cotto wrote about the competition, which required entrants to prepare a dish with apple or pumpkin to mark the coming of fall.
There were five judges on the panel, including 1789 pastry chef Ryan Westover and government professor Fr. Matthew Carnes, S.J. Each judge completed a detailed grading form for the dishes, which ranged from pumpkin rosemary bread to a chocolate and pumpkin soufflé.
In the end though, Gromet and Gallagher took home the prize of a free dinner for two at 1789, the swanky restaurant on 36th Street.
The secret ingredient used to secure their victory? Bourbon.
“Adding alcohol never hurts,” Gromet and Gallagher wrote.
The competition, held to honor World Food Day, was the offspring of last year’s Farmers’ Market event, which focused on partnering with 1789 and featured handouts about World Food Day and a brief cooking demonstration by a 1789 chef.
“It was very low key,” Cotto said. “This year it was all about increasing student participation.”
Gromet’s and Gallagher’s preparation for the event was perilous, as Gromet was distracted by medical school interviews and Gallagher was working almost nonstop in the hours leading up to the competition.
“Our roommate Kim, also a contestant, agreed to bring it [to the competition] for us,” Gromet wrote. “We were a little worried she’d drop it, perhaps on purpose to eliminate the competition.”
While Gromet and Gallagher won overall, other contestants won in categories such as “Best in Taste,” “Most Original” and “Best Presentation” with dishes that included maple pumpkin pie and pumpkin-apple streusel cake.
Cotto hopes to do another event in the future with even more student engagement and a more interactive competition.
“But who knows,” Cotto said. “Right now, we are just celebrating the success of a great first try.”