The French and Italian clubs are preparing for an upcoming culinary head-to-head at the second annual French-Italian cook-off.
The cook-off (gara gastronomic in Italian) finds it roots in the Italian club itself. The club has held the event internally for several years. Each semester members of the Italian club, who were divided up into different districts, would prepare appetizers, mains dishes and desserts. The food they prepared would then go on to be judged against the submissions of other districts.
Last year, however, Italian club president Dwayne Irvin was looking to spice up the competition.
“The rivalry between the French and Italian club came from a desire to do something against the French,” Irvin said. “We share a department, and so we are always trying to determine who’s best.”
Originally Irvin had hoped to organize a soccer tournament to mimic the European Cup. His sport plans changed when he considered the idea of a cooking competition.
“We decided to open the gara gastronomica to the French club, and now we select from all of our submissions which ones would best represent us, and the French do the same,” said Irvin.
Jim Law, the president of the French club, accepted the invitation and the tradition began. The two clubs met and presented their dishes to a panel of judges. Judges selected their preferred dishes in three categories that had been used in the original Italian club event.
“We actually won the main dish category with a “coq au vin,” which is a rooster-wine stew; it was pretty delicious,” Law said. “Somehow (the Italian club) was able to pull of a win in the appetizer and dessert categories, but I personally think the main dish should count more; I mean, it is the most important part of a meal.”
Wining two out of the three categories, the Italian club was declared the champion of 2013, taking home a traveling trophy and adorning it with the flag of Italy.
This year’s cook-off will be held at 7 p.m. on March 12 in room 3228 of the Wilkinson Center. Entrance is free for French club members and $3 dollars for everyone else. Entrance is also free for Italian club members and their guests.