CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Last week at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi dining hall, there was a battle like no other. This battle, the first of it's kind, was a literal 'food fight' with the opponents being science versus arts. Or rather, the Dean of the College of Science and Engineering, Dr. Frank Pezold, versus the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Mark Hartlaub. These chefs, Dean Pezold and Dean Hartlaub, met spatula to spatula at the dining hall to face off in the first ever cooking battle in Islander history.
The dish to be prepared was pasta, which offers each participant an opportunity to bring their own flare – including incorporating the secret ingredient that was provided for both chefs: mushrooms. It also includes 'secret ingredients' the chefs themselves chose to use. For Dean Pezold, it was his Louisiana background that was his secret weapon, creating a creole-inspired dish of crawfish orzo peppers. As for Dean Hartlaub, it was using black and green olives.
"Many people shy away from using green olives because they're a little bitter," Hartlaub wrote after the competition, "However, I think they add a nice tang that you can’t really get with any other ingredient."
While both Deans gave it their all, only one could prevail the winner of the competition, earning the coveted bragging rights. Who would triumph in the show of culinary talent?
In the end, the one who emerged victorious was Dean of the College of Science and Engineering, Dr. Frank Pezold. For some, Pezold winning might not come as a shock,
"I wasn't surprised Dean Pezold won," one spectator said after the competition, "I know how he is with his food."
Even Dean Hartlaub said he accepted his loss,
"Dean Pezold created a very elaborate dish which showed a great deal of originality; I accept the results with great humility." wrote Hartlaub, "My goal was not to embarrass myself and I believe I achieved that."
Concerning the win, it was previously mentioned that Hartlaub would have to wear an LSU jersey if he lost. However, when the participants were questioned on the rumor, Pezold was quick to insist it was not true.
"That was just a rumor." Pezold said, "I don’t even know if he [Hartlaub] likes football."
However, Hartlaub's response was different. He agreed to wear it if Pezold requested it, but also offered a compromise,
"Dean Pezold has been very gracious in victory. So, if he asked me to wear it, I would. But I'm hoping that if I just root for LSU next Saturday, that will be sufficient."
Following the commencement of the first ever cooking battle in Islander history, there are hopes to for more in the following years.
"I think this was a great first event," Hartlaub wrote, "I think in the future, with coaches or faculty who teach Core Curriculum, it could really take off."
The competition was hosted at the Islander Dining Hall, and was open to the public for a fee of 10$ or a meal swipe for access to a buffet-style dining area.
Special thanks to the Deans for participating in The Iron Chef Dean's Challenge 2016.