By Jill Rothwell – Collegiate Staff
Team Scotland once again took the winning title of the 2015 Nations Cup Challenge on Saturday Oct. 24, in the fifth biennial event that began in 2005 at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College. Scotland also took the honor in 2013.
“It’s a unique concept in that every competition is a mystery box, a unique competition to Grand Rapids” said lead judge, Chef Ian MacDonald of St. Andrews Trust Links in Scotland.
Two-member teams from Barbados, Canada, Italy, Mexico, Scotland and the United States competed for two days in six separate mystery box challenges ranging from appetizers to pasta, proteins to dessert before the Nations Cup Dinner Finale on Saturday night. The contestants had the advantage for the finale in that they were given the dinner assignment months in advance to perfect their national dishes.
To observe the 90-minute Fish/Shellfish mystery box challenge on Oct. 22 was different from a reality TV cooking show. By all appearances, the competitors were quiet and calm, beginning with twenty minutes given to ‘shop’ for additional ingredients, then a little more than an hour to prep, cook and plate.
Judges from each country made inquiries and took notes as the teams were preparing the dishes. A world-wide live stream video at one time had over 700 viewers during this mystery box competition.
The last 25 minutes brought an emotional shift and time management skills were challenged to ensure the dish was served perfectly and hot. Viewers as well as judges were offered the reward of tasting the final product.
Scotland’s Nations Cup entry was the cold appetizer in the six-course dinner presented Saturday night. The preparation was Glazert’s goats cheese, salt baked and pickled beetroot, chutney, toasted hazelnuts and oat.
Team members, by country:
Barbados: Sharika Rashida Bennett, Makeba Jelissa Amor Fields, Chef Antonelle Colarita Byer (Coach)
Canada: Sean Burton, Jarrod Oglan, Chef Kevin Boyce (Coach)
Italy: Giuseppe De Lucia, Iriana Liuzzi, Chef Vitoantonio Mangini (Coach)
Mexico: Carmen Nallely Martinez, Jorge Luis Bolaños, Chef Rodrigo Ibañez (Coach)
Scotland: Darren Seggie, Lenka Faksova, Chef Gary Maclean (Coach)
United States: Megan Garstecki, Taylor Deschaine, Chef Sasha Ahmed (Coach)
Press passes were not issued to the Collegiate for the Nations Cup Dinner Finale. No comments, photographs from Saturday night or number of medals awarded by team from the two-day mystery box competitions were available at print.