Press Release

Spice Girls Win 7th Annual Iron Chef Competition

Tuesday, January 29, 2013
by Carolyn Carpenter

HLGU’s  7th Annual Iron Chef competition, held on Thursday, January 24, once again featured some wonderfully creative dishes and a lot of fun. The format for this year’s event changed slightly. Rather than five teams competing for the coveted HLGU Iron Chef medals and having just one secret ingredient, the competition featured three teams, each with a Fresh Ideas chef assigned to them, and two separate cook-offs.  The evening began with hosts Dr. Bob Bergen and Dr. Jeff Brown introducing the teams and giving each team a basket of secret ingredients for the first round of the competition. 


The 2013 Iron Chef teams were comprised of all first-timers to “kitchen stadium.” Team Sizzlin’ Sisters included Melissa Laramore, HLGU Residence Hall Director of Pullium and two freshman from Pullium Hall as well, Kendra Derryberry and Kendi Ott.  Sizzlin’ Sister’s Fresh Ideas Chef was Jeremy Hoover. Team Spice Girls was made up of HLGU staff members: Carolyn Carpenter, Director of Public Relations, Lauren Youse, Alumni Director, and Lissie Youse, HLGU Admissions Rep. Chef Martin assisted the Spice Girls. The third team in the competition, Frying Pan in Yur Face, included HLGU Lewis Hall and Brown Hall Residence Hall Director Katie Brandenburg along with Lora Thompson and Jason Helsby. Fresh Ideas Food Service Director Rachel Klosterman assisted team Frying Pan in Yur Face.


Once the basket of secret ingredients was revealed, teams started brainstorming ideas for an appetizer that required the use of all the secret ingredients.


For its appetizer dish team Frying Pan in Yur Face chose to make a fresh mango guacamole with pita chips.


The Spice Girls also chose to make a guacamole-inspired recipe. In addition to the four required ingredients the Spice Girls also added cilantro, chopped red onion, pineapple, lime zest and juice, salt, tomatoes, and sugar.


The Sizzlin’ Sisters chose to utilize the Mongolian grill by browning their cheddar quesadillas and serving them with a mango salsa.


Each team used every second of the 30 minute time limit to create their dishes. Prior to the beginning of the competition the teams drew numbers as to the order in which they would present their dishes. Presentation order ended up being: Spice Girls, first, Frying Pan in Yur Face, second, and Sizzlin’ Sisters would present last.


This year’s Iron Chef judges included: HLGU President, Dr. Anthony Allen, First Lady, Stacy Allen, HLGU Homecoming Queen, Christina Carter, and HLGU Homecoming King, Andy Krutsinger.

The judges were very impressed with each dish that was presented to them.


After the first round of the competition the various meats/proteins the teams had to choose from were revealed along with the secret ingredient – Starbucks coffee. Each team had to choose just one meat or protein for the second half of the cooking competition. Team Spice Girls quickly grabbed the pork loins, Frying Pan in Yur Face chose chicken breasts, and Sizzlin’ Sisters chose Tilapia.


Each team had just 60 minutes to prepare a main entrée and at least one other coffee-inspired dish. In addition to whole coffee beans, brewed coffee, and ground coffee, the teams could also use coffee concentrate and instant coffee drink mixes.


Team Sizzlin’ Sisters quickly went to work on their deep fried, cornmeal and pecan crusted filets. To accompany the fish entree the team also created coffee sauce that was drizzled over the filets. To make their stir-fry of mixed veggies with coffee essence, team Sizzlin’ Sisters once again utilized the Mongolian Grill. “We’re going for some flame,” stated Melissa Laramore when asked by Dr. Bergen what was happening on the Mongolian Grill. In addition, the team also prepared coffee bean brown rice.


For its coffee inspired main dish, team Frying Pan in Yur Face chose to make espresso roasted chicken breasts with orange coffee-infused rice and sautéed vegetables which were coffee concentrated. Orange zest was used to create an orange glaze for the rice as well. “I loved that our name was Frying Pan Yur Face! My teammates Lora and Jason were great, and we had wonderful guidance from Jeremy from Fresh Ideas as well,” stated Brandenburg.



Spice Girls, who chose the whole pork loins, decided to slice the loins in to chops and rub them with a mixture of instant coffee, brown and white sugars, vinegar, coffee syrup, and spices. The pork chops were then taken to the grill to carmelize the glaze and add grill marks. The chops were then finished in the oven to keep them tender and lastly were drizzled with a coffee, honey, and molasses sauce. For their second dish the team chose to make mashed sweet potatoes using the same rub/glaze that was used on the pork chops. For dessert the team made “Coffee Snickerdoodles.” Ranger cookie dough balls were rolled in a mixture of cinnamon, sugar, and instant coffee and baked. A dipping sauce was also created out of whipped cream, coffee syrup, and sugar.


In the end it was the Spice Girls’ creative use of the secret ingredient and their knowledge of Dr. and Mrs. Allen’s love of southern food that put them in the winner’s circle. “We loved their overall meal,” stated Mrs. Allen. “The sweet potatoes were just delicious.”  Frying Pan in Your Face took second with their chicken and coffee inspired dishes. Sizzlin’ Sisters, with their “we sizzle fo rizzle” motto on their personalized Iron Chef tee shirts, were voted to have had the best look. Frying Pan in Yur Face’s guacamole dish won the appetizer portion of the competition.


“The HLGU Iron Chef is a tradition that took on a whole new look this year, all new teams, new judges, a new kitchen, and new rules.  It was fun being the new director and seeing how great the event turned out,” stated Richard Medina, HLGU Director of Student Activities.


County Market was once again a major sponsor of the event. “We are thankful for the support County Market has given us for this event over the years. Once again they donated approximately 50 pounds of pork. Their generosity has been much appreciated,” stated Medina.  Fresh Ideas, HLGU’s new food service provider, was also a major sponsor of the event. “Our Iron Chef competition was one of the best events we’ve held this year in the Dining Hall because of the one-on-one interaction you get to have with the students.  It brought students, faculty, and staff all together in a fun – yet somewhat – competitive way.  I especially enjoyed teaching one of the green team members how to fry fish fillets.  All in all, I think it was an entertaining evening for the contestants, audience, and judges,” stated Rachel Klosterman, Food Service Director, Fresh Ideas.


Contact Information

Carolyn Carpenter
Director of Public Relations