Culinary Students Offer A Taste of the Midwest
by Emilie Jenson, Public Information Office
Posted on 5/1/2023
Iowa Central Culinary students were presented with a challenge for their final public event of the year.
Divided into five teams, each group drew a category from a hat that included foods connected to Iowa or the Midwest. The challenge? Do something with the food that is a step up from the ordinary.
“The students drew the categories and then had to take it up a notch by putting a twist on a common dish somehow,” said Chef Michael Hirst, Culinary Arts and Hospitality Program coordinator.
Student Maria Mohr selected an Iowa mainstay: corn.
“Corn was challenging because it’s so popular, everyone knows how they like it, they know how it is supposed to taste,” said Mohr.
Mohr was up to the challenge, making an appetizer of mini grilled corn on the cob and a hot main dish of corn chili with cornbread.
“Everyone prepared an appetizer and a main dish,” she said.
Jael Coon and Harrison Tille selected beef as their category. They partnered up to make beef short ribs with cornbread and coleslaw and ribeye with peppercorn sauce and mushrooms.
“The challenge was to elevate the taste of Midwest cuisine while still trying to keep it Midwest,” said Tille.
Baking and pastry teams were assigned to use their own creativity when it came to making a Midwest themed dessert. Each student chose something that reminded them of a personal connection to their Midwest upbringings from trips to the farmers market to treats at the state fair.
Imani Reels created caramel apple and kettle corn themed cupcakes as an homage to the fairs she attended as a child.
“It was something I saw as nostalgic,” said Reels. “I remembered the fairs and circuses we used to go to when we were kids.”
Abbie Orr and Kylee Oberbroeckling used memories of going to farmer’s markets to inspire their blueberry lemon curd ice cream and strawberry shortcake custard desserts.
“That’s one thing I remember doing as a kid, we’d go to the farmer’s market to get strawberries for strawberry shortcake,” said Oberbroeckling.
Grace Sperry was inspired by a favorite family dessert when making her strawberry pineapple angel food cake skewers with flavored drizzles.
“That’s one thing I always remember having at family dinners,” she said. “There was always angel food cake, and we always had it with fruit.”
The event also featured 10 different tasting stations, along with Iowa themed cocktails made with Iowa wines, craft beers and burbouns.
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