JSU Newswire
Jacksonville, Alabama

Chef Shawn Wins Cookoff

Story & Photos By
Abby Knight
JSU News Bureau

November 15, 2002 -- It was an ideal match-up: two well trained combatants prepared to battle time, each other and the unknown. They are they gladiators of the griddle, fighters of the frying pan, warriors of the whisk.

On one side, the away team, Chef Dane McDermott, executive chef for Sodexho at Samford University. His opponent, the crowd favorite, Chef Shawn Morrison, is one of Sodexho's two chefs at Jacksonville State University.

The battle: the Copper Chef Competition. The rules: Each contestant has one hour to cook three different dishes for the judges to taste, using the staples provided as well as two secret ingredients that would be disclosed at the start of competition. Nine judges would score each dish and the totals would be averaged to find the man who would hold the title of "Copper Chef." A total of 20 points could be awarded to each dish: five points for creativity, five points for presentation and 10 points for taste.

Each chef was helped, or in this case handicapped, by a sous-chef or assistant. JSU Senior Stephanie Janis, first vice president of the SGA, assisted Chef Dane. Senior Andrew Symonds, SGA's director of publicity, assisted Chef Shawn.

Just before 11:20 a.m., the secret ingredients of beef tenderloin and scallops were revealed, then the clock started ticking. Frantically, both men began to work, directing their Soux Chefs to gather and chop vegetables. Chef Dane completed his first dish early in the hour, allowing the 9-member judge panel plenty of time to sample his Ginger Beef and Scallop Soup. He followed with a radicchio and endive salad with beef tenderloin and scallops and red wine vinaigrette. His final dish was a Beef and Scallop Ragu with rosemary.

Chef Shawn's first dish was Surf and Turf on Crout with essence of beef. He followed that up with Confetti rice with black beans & scallops with tenderloin and a Scallop and beef soup.

In the end, after a 58-minute heated competition, in front of a wildly enthusiastic crowd, Chef Shawn Morrison was awarded the title of Copper Chef.

The judges were Dr. William Fielding, JSU Vice President of Administrative and Business Affairs; Dr. and Mrs. William Meehan, JSU President and First Lady; Robert Hayes, JSU SGA President; Terry Casey, JSU Director of Student Activities; Dr. Alice Cusimano, JSU Associate Vice president of Student Affairs; Dr. Tim Roberts, JSU assistant professor of Family and Consumer Sciences; Dr. Rebecca Turner, JSU Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs and Joe Whitmore, Director of Special Services.

Chef Dane McDermott, Sous-chef Stephanie Janis, Chef Shawn Morrison and Sous-chef Andrew Symonds prepare for competition.

Stephanie Janis dons gloves and a knife while assisting Chef Dane

Chef Shawn works feverently during the competition.

Dr. and Mrs. Meehan check out the action stoveside.

Judge Dr. Bob Fielding prepares to take a nibble of Chef Shawn's first entry.

President Meehan enters his score for this dish.

Judge Joe Whitmore takes a stab at Chef Dane's colorful salad.

The competitors swap tips while they wait for the scores to be tallied.

The panel of judges taste the final entry.

The champion, JSU's Chef Shawn Morrison with his Sous-chef Andrew Symonds. In his victory speech, Morrison thanked JSU and said "It is really becoming like home."


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