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Culinary Competition Uses SSSSSSecret Ingredient

Python fillets were the featured "secret" ingredient at a student culinary competition run by Sodexo chefs at Bridgewater State University.

Snake is not a daily menu item at Bridgewater State University but python fillets were a featured ingredient during this year’s ‘Chopped’ style culinary competition on campus.

For the third year, campus dining services provider Sodexo partnered with First Year Residential Experience (FYRE) in a cooking competition fashioned after the hit Food Network program “Chopped.” It featured four teams of first year students gathered in The Bear’s Den retail location, where they learned that snake was a featured ingredient.

Bear’s Den Manager Chris Corsini had Zeus, a pet snake of one of the Bear’s Den employees, brought in for the big reveal (Zeus was not harmed in this event).

“The look of shock was apparent on everyone’s faces,” says Sodexo Marketing Coordinator Monica Moyer. “We watched as the judges quickly tweeted that they would be eating snake.”

Those courageous judges were Dr. Jason B. Pina, Vice President for Student Affairs; Beth Moriarty, Director Residence Life and Housing; and Shelly Keniston, Associate Director Residence Life and Housing.

Sodexo Executive Chef Daniel DiBona kicked off the event with a knife skills demonstration to ensure student safety. The teams were also equipped with safety cut gloves.

Teams were then asked to prepare an appetizer, main course and dessert for the judges. Two out of the three courses had to include the secret ingredient.

A pantry filled with spices, oils, milk, yogurt and whipped cream was available for all teams to use. Students had one hour to prepare their meal and present it to the judges. Meals were scored according to taste, presentation, originality and teamwork.

The winner’s meal included an appetizer of Garden Salad with Python Bits (bacon bits) tossed with a light Mandarin Orange and balsamic dressing, an entrée of freshly prepared Cajun python sausage in homemade Italian sauce served over penne. The dessert was two smoothies, The Health Fanatic and Chocolate Sensation.

Go here for a video of the event filmed by Arthur Slotnick, Director of Telecommunications Video System.

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