International Cook-Off Competition Highlights 16th Annual International Education Week

Kent State University will celebrate the 16th annual International Education Week from Nov. 15-20.  As in past years, the highlight of the weeklong celebration is the International Cook-Off Competition scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 19, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Ballroom. The cook-off is hosted by the Office of Global Education along with Kent State’s Dining Services, and will feature food and drinks from around the world. This year’s event will be Kent State’s sixth annual International Cook-off. 

Six student teams – selected from dozens of entries – will each present a different cultural entrée and beverage from its home country. The teams will compete for first-, second- and third-place awards, which will be determined by a team of judges. Trophies will be awarded to each of the three winning teams. In addition, attendees will have the chance to vote for their favorite for the People’s Choice Award. The first-place team also will have the chance to have its entrée featured in Kent Market 2.

“The event is a lot of fun, and people always love it,” says Annie Cima, graduate assistant at Kent State’s Office of Global Education. “Students look forward to it every year, and we’re really excited to have so many good teams, especially because some of the teams haven’t been represented before.

“It’s nice to see so many new faces signing up for it,” Cima adds. “The teams take it pretty seriously, too. The cook-off is a little stressful for them because they feel like they need to represent their country and cuisine well, especially since it might be the only time other students have tasted food native to that country. The teams really love it though, and it’s something they enjoy.”

This year, the judges for the International Cook-off include Douglas Steidl, dean of the College of Architecture and Environmental Design; Cathy Dubois, associate dean for the College of Business Administration; and Stephen Thomas, head of the Higher Education Administration doctoral program. The emcee for the event will be Bob Hall, director of learning and organizational development for the Division of Human Resources, who hosted the event in 2014 to everyone’s enjoyment.

Each year, the competition has grown, with about 500 people attending last year. Team Thailand, the defending champions for the past two years with a chicken stir-fry dish, will not be competing this year, but Team Brazil will return with its sights set on first place. However, the competition will be fierce with five additional teams from Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Oman, China and India.

Team Vietnam will be preparing goi tôm, a type of traditional shrimp salad with a fish sauce, and chè 3 màu, a tri-colored dessert drink. The team members include:

  • Van Le
  • Hang Pham
  • Dung Vu
  • Huyen Nguyen
  • Huong Ha

Team Brazil will be making escondidinho, a typical dish from the Northeast region that is similar to shepherd’s pie, along with a passion fruit juice beverage. Team members include:

  • Rayssa Cardoso de Matos
  • Debora Priscila Costa Freire
  • Susana Castelo Branco Ramos Nakandakari
  • Lara Beatriz Gois Seabra
  • Juliana Briany Goulart da Paixão
  • Ana Clara Franciosi de Souza Ferreira

Team Oman will be making makboos, which is a rice-based dish with saffron and chicken. A rose water and Vimto drink will complete the menu. Team members include:

  • Madian AlAufi
  • Ahmed AlAbri
  • Awatif AlAwaisi
  • Khadija AlHabsy
  • Ahed AlJabri
  • Shaima Albusaidi

Team Sri Lanka will be preparing Sri Lanka fried rice with fish balls and a refreshing fruit punch. Team members include:

  • Arosha Dassanaayake
  • Ranil Gurusinghe
  • Gayan Sanjeewa Mirihana Archchilage
  • Chamila Gunathilake
  • Sewwandi Rathnayake
  • Kalpani Rathnayake

Team China will be making a spicy fish filet native to the Sichuan region. They promise a surprise for their beverage entry. Team members include:

  • Yuqing Zeng
  • Tianyi Wang
  • Pan Xie
  • Hao Fan

Team India will be preparing Hyderabadi dum biryani, a typical rice, chicken and spice dish from the region of Hyderabad with masala chaas, a spicy buttermilk beverage. Team members include:

  • Sarath Chandra Kunda
  • Deepak Kasturi
  • Tejaswi Karumuru
  • Abhilash Perumandla
  • Mahiteja Kalicheti

Teams will have a food and safety meeting prior to the competition and must follow all dining services rules and regulations. Dining services also will provide the food and all of the ingredients, but the teams are required to prepare all of the food.

For the first time, the event will charge a $2 admission. However, all proceeds will be donated to The Freedom House of Portage County, a shelter for homeless veterans located in Kent.

For additional activities scheduled during International Education Week, visit the online Calendar of Events.