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Masterchef: Puma Style

Pumas try to win the day with their cooking prowess

Welcome to the first, and likely last edition of University Preparatory Academy’s very own MasterChop. MasterChop is a little challenge that is similar to MasterChef, Chopped, or any time-trial cooking show on Food Network.

In this particular rendition however there are two rounds, entrée and dessert, and three contestants. The contestants had to use an array of ingredients which could be considered “non-conventional” for the meals they must cook.

The Contestants? Sophomore Cameron Swope, and Juniors James Reed and Nikhil Deo. Each participated in the entrée round, knowing that only two would move on to the dessert round. Deciding who moves were the judges: Emily Morrissey, James Garvey, and myself.

For their entrées, the contestants must choose from quinoa, couscous, herb brie, mozzarella cheese and blue cheese in order to make a mac n’ cheese-esque dish. However, each contestant also had to incorporate Dots gum drops into their dish.

“I’m going to cook the couscous, chop up the Dots, put mozzarella in there and put the Dots in the mac n’ cheese” Swope said.

Each contestant followed similar strategies but with different ingredients. Deo used quinoa and mozzarella, while Reed used herb brie and couscous.

At the end of the 30 minute round, the contestants presented their dishes. Swope’s dish was first. Its integration of the Dots won it points in taste and presentation, the fried cheese garnish certainly helped, but the almost overuse of the Dots provided a confusing set of flavors, earning the dish a whopping…9/20. It’s a failing grade, but hey, it’s better than the next one.

Reed’s dish was, I mean, it looked good. But then we tasted it, and immediately wished we hadn’t. He added so much salt at the last minute, it was all we could taste! The taste really brought the dish down earning it an unfortunate -5/20.

Deo’s was last, it’s amazing presentation—he wrote his name in gummy, and decent taste ended up earning it a 10/20. I mean, let’s face it, there’s no real way to integrate Dots into mac n’ cheese and still have it taste good.

Obviously Reed was eliminated. When asked what he thought lost him the competition, he simply answered “salt.”

In the dessert round Deo and Swope each needed to make a pie out of chocolate/vanilla pudding, strawberries, bananas, a graham cracker crust, whipped cream and pork rinds.

Both contestants used almost identical ingredients and techniques, the only real difference being the fact that Deo used chocolate pudding, and Swope used both vanilla and chocolate.

Deo was up first this time, and his pie was amazing. From beautiful presentation to expert integration of the pork rinds, he earned a 17/20. Swope was next, and while he scored relatively similar to Deo, the again overusage of the mystery ingredient gave to dish an overpowering taste of pork, giving the dish a 12/20.

“It’s suffice to say I felt pretty confident in my abilities” Deo said after he won. And with that, I’ll be it an abrupt ending, we end our premier instalment of MasterChop.

By Micho Matuszewski

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