It all started with a little friendly banter between the men and women students of Moraine Park Technical College’s culinary arts program and mushroomed into a tailgate party of epic proportions. The students in Lois Zingsheim’s Hot Sandwich class spent Wednesday afternoon chopping, sautéing, grilling and frying up appetizers and desserts fit for a gourmet game day.
The men and women of the Hot Sandwich class broke into two teams and prepared for a battle of the sexes. With each team serving four appetizers and one dessert, a total of ten dishes were prepared with close to 1,300 proportions. After the nearly 50 guests from the campus and the community tasted the appetizers, one question remained: Who served up the ultimate tailgate grub?
Guests were provided with a ballot and voted in three categories: most flavorful appetizer, best dessert and best overall. The men, “Los Conquistadores” served up flank and bleu pot stickers, jambalaya egg rolls, chili sliders and duck confit quesadillas; they topped it off with orange chocolate rangoon for dessert.
For Gary Spiering of Fond du Lac, the duck confit quesadillas had his vote right away. “The appetizers were good to start with, and they just kept getting better,” Spiering said. He came to the event with seven other friends, who agreed the appetizers were top-notch.
Kevin Knapp, the men’s team captain, had a lot of fun with the event. “This event showed how cooperative everyone can be when there is a common goal,” Knapp said. “I’m so proud of my team and how everyone came together.” Knapp plans to graduate from Moraine Park in May.
The women, “A-Rod’s Harem, ” served beer and beef chili sliders on bacon biscuits, spring rolls, Johnsonville bratwurst swirls with mustard cream cheese and prime rib sliders with horseradish sauce; finishing big with mini apple cheese turnovers.
“We all really put our heads together on this,” said Candace Mendoza, a second-year culinary student. “We enjoyed helping each other out, and this event was such a positive and fun way to apply what we’re learning in class to a realistic situation.” Mendoza added that she enjoyed the community members and friends who came to check out the event.
All of the ingredients used for the challenge were from Wisconsin, including products donated from Johnsonville Sausage, LLC.
“This class has taken every challenge I give them to another level — with each experience they have learned the trials and tribulations of what really occurs in a restaurant,” said Zingsheim.
Moraine Park Dean of Business and Culinary Arts, Dan Pahlow, who also served as a celebrity chef, was proud of the successful event. “Who knew learning could be so much fun!” Pahlow said. “When the students take ownership of the learning environment, the outcome, whether it be an appetizer or a spreadsheet, is so much more rewarding.”
With both teams putting up an excellent fight, the result was a tie. “I never would have guessed this would happen, but I am glad it did,” said Zingsheim. “I would have had a hard time praising one side over the other, because they all did a very good job.” The men won for best appetizer with their duck confit and the ladies won with their mini apple turnovers.
For more information on Moraine Park’s Culinary Arts program, contact Pahlow at firstname.lastname@example.org.