Students victorious in Sodexo Dueling Dishes competition

Leighah Beausoleil / THE GATEPOST

Two students and two faculty went head to head in Sodexo’s students vs. faculty Dueling Dishes competition, leaving students victorious for the second year in a row March 31.

The student team “Fashionista” was comprised of fashion and design retailing majors Mailk Martin and Brandi Scott.

Martin won in the last Dueling Dishes competition held last year which had a focus on vegan dishes.

The faculty/staff team was comprised of Nutrition Professor Megan Mayer and Biology Professor Cara Pina.

The competition was judged by David LaFleur, executive chef of Dining Services, who also MC’d the event, Lorretta Holloway, vice president of enrollment and student development, and Mirari Elcoro, psychology professor. 

According to LaFleur, the judges made their decision based on three factors – taste, presentation, and use of the two required secret ingredients.

The two ingredients were baby arugula and avocado.

The competition began at 5:00 p.m., in which the teams had 15 minutes to plan, followed by an hour for cooking.

Winners along with three friends of their choice were awarded with a private dinner with LaFleur. Second place won vegetable slices.

“There’s a lot of popularity with cooking shows,” LaFleur said. “People are getting really creative cooking at home. We thought we’d just kind of bring the fun to Framingham State University and just do a fun competition with students and faculty.”

LaFleur added he hopes the event’s popularity continues to grow and more people get involved.

Another competition is set to be held by the end of April.

“It’s just really fun to see the creativity and see the end result and see the whole process from start to finish,” he said.

The students’ dish was made up of seared and spiced chicken with an avocado sauce, a salad with vegetables and arugula, as well as buttered rice.

Martin said, “I think it’s just a fun experience getting to use different items to paint a picture, right? I’m a fashion major and I think fashion majors have an advantage because the same way that you put colors and fabrics and notions and threads together is the same way you compare food and spices and make just a grand experience.”

Scott credited Martin with being the creative mastermind behind their dish. “I was just listening to him. Whatever he told me I was like, ‘OK,’ and I would just do it, but I didn’t really do any hard work or any sweating really. I was just flipping the chicken.”

The faculty’s dish was made up of pesto marinated shrimp that included the arugula, a salsa with avocado, pine berries, pineapple, and microgreens, as well as rice pudding.

Mayer said, “I had a great time. It’s very fun to collaborate with my colleagues. To see what the students came up with and have a nice little audience cheering us on. I definitely would do it again.”

Pina said, “It was wonderful. It’s super fun. I really like cooking. It was super fun to cook. It’s fun to have an audience. I’m glad that I can make food for other people. I like making food for other people and sharing.”

After the points among the judges were tallied, the result was a tie, but based on individual scoring, two judges had voted for the students, crowning them the winners once again.