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ENDURE holds Top Chef competition

ENDURE, Eastern University’s peer mentoring group, ended the year on a tasty note. The group held its own Top Chef competition on Friday, April 17.

The event featured a cook-off between junior Elaine Dube and senior Dante Johnson. Each contestant prepared a dinner and a dessert that were tasted and voted on by a panel of three judges: Janice Roberts from admissions, first-year Mike Brown and senior Brandon Cross.

Despite the promise of free food, only about thirty people showed up for the event. Frann Nutter-Mawusi, ENDURE’s moderator, was surprised by the low turnout.

“Maybe it’s because it’s a Friday night, maybe because people think it’s only for the group [ENDURE],” she said.

For her dinner dish, Dube prepared “Riveting Ribs,” honey barbecue ribs with mashed potatoes made from scratch, yellow peppers and her own secret sauce. She decided that barbecue would be a good choice for the event because, as she said after the competition, “everybody loves barbecue.”

Johnson countered Dube’s ribs with “Dante’s Down South Spicy Chili.” “The chili had a range of flavors,” he said. “I thought everyone would get a mouthful of flavor.”

Between the dinner and dessert, audience members could take part in a food-trivia game. Contestants competed to be the first to correctly answer questions about food, with the winner of each round receiving a prize.

After the game, dessert was served. Dube had prepared “Cinnamon Smile”: baked dough and cream cheese with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top.

Johnson had what he dubbed “Pretzel Salad,” a concoction with pretzels, sugar and butter baked into a crust, Kool Whip and cream cheese in the middle, and Jell-O and strawberries on top.

At the end of the event, the judges voted and decided on the winner for each dish. Dube’s Riveting Ribs won the dinner competition, and Johnon’s Pretzel Salad won for dessert. Dube received a $25 gift card to Manilla’s Diner and Johnson received a $25 gift card to Genuardi’s.

Why did the group decide on a cook-off? “Cooking shows are so popular right now,” Nutter-Mawusi said. “Plus, an event like this allows students to express themselves through cooking.”

Nutter-Mawusi did not guarantee that there would be another cook-off next year, saying that the group likes to rotate events each year to see what works. However, she did say that there will definitely be a kick-off event at the beginning of the year and a finale at the end, both of which will be open to the entire student population.

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