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Clarkson University shows off sustainable eats in ‘Iron Chef’ competition

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POTSDAM — “Allez cuisine!”

Three teams of chefs went head to head on Clarkson University’s campus to see whose cuisine would reign supreme Thursday, but the competition had a challenging twist.

The teams, made up of university faculty, staff and students, were competing in the Clarkson Dining Sustainable Iron Chef Competition.

“I am really glad we could do this,” Clarkson dining director John Herman said. “This was something we wanted to do in observance of Earth Week.”

The competition involved ingredients from local farms and food providers such as butter from Cabot Creamery of Vermont, onions from Martin’s Organic Farm of Potsdam and raw honey from Squeak Creek Apiaries of Brasher Falls.

A judging team of Anthony G. Collins, Clarkson University president; Patrick M. Kilcoyne, owner of Kilcoyne Farms of Brasher Falls; Kyle Mayette, Clarkson’s executive chef; and Kelly O. Chezum, the university’s vice president for external relations; ruled on the competition using a system that deducted points for using non-local ingredients.

“I am very proud that we could do this using local ingredients,” Ms. Chezum said. “This is a good way to highlight both local food producers, our focus on sustainability, and to make it fun.”

The event was hosted by Susan Small, the effervescent regional chef for the Aramark Corp., the Philadelphia, Pa.-based company that administers Clarkson’s dining services.

“This is the first sustainable iron chef competition I am aware of in any of our campuses,” she said. “It makes sense given the current focus on sustainability.”

Every iron chef show involves secret ingredients, one or more foods that are not revealed to the teams until the competition begins. The Clarkson event featured wild leeks, beef tenderloin, golden beets, goat cheese and organic spinach from local producers.

The competition was won by Team Chop-Chop, a team of students whose dishes — including Kilcoyne beef tenderloin marinated in brown sugar and beer, potato and golden beet hash with Oscar’s smokehouse bacon and Carriage House crostini with local goat cheese and spinach — will be available at Clarkson dining facilities during Earth Week.

Clarkson University has recently emphasized sustainability on campus, Mr. Herman said, and the event was a fun way to bring the point home.

“We are always looking for more ways to make our offerings more sustainable,” he said.

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