Team India Captures First Place at 2017 International Cook-Off

Judges Determine Its Dish of Mughlai Chicken is Worthy of First Place in the Annual Culinary Competition
Attendees vote Team Oman's Dish of Biryani with Chicken as "People Choice"
Teams Brazil and Oman finish in second and third place respectively

An audience of more than 700 Kent State students, faculty, staff and families packed the Kent Student Center Ballroom Thursday night, November 16, to sample and enjoy the culinary creations of six international cooking teams in the eighth annual International Cook-Off Competition. Three judges – which included Ricardo Sepulveda, Director, Kent/Blossom Music FestivalShakhnoza Yakubova, Ph.D. Student, Higher Education Administration and Lamar Hylton, Dean of Students – were given the task of selecting the top three winners in the competition. The audience also used their cell phones to vote for the winner of the People's Choice Award.

For the first time, two teams from the same country, South Korea, will compete in the Cook-Off and will represent the Korean cities of Jeonju and Seoul. The remaining teams include previous Cook-Off fan favorites: Brazil, India, Oman and Sri Lanka.

The Cook-Off is an annual event hosted by the Office of Global Education and is traditionally the highlight of International Education Week, which Kent State celebrated this year during the week of November 13 - 17. The Cook-Off was just one of 25 different events scheduled during International Education Week which included everything from lectures, lunches, films and

The Cook-Off's master of ceremonies, Dr. Michael Kavulic, Director of Board Operations and Technology, Office of the President, welcomed the 700-plus attendees, introduced the cooking team and then got the evening's festivities underway with a hearty "Let's Eat!" Immediately, the audience queued up at the six serving and began enjoying the various dishes which the teams had prepared. Meanwhile, the judges were sampling the food and comparing notes in preparation for making their selections for the first, second and third place winners. 

Throughout the evening, Dr. Kavulic kept the audience entertained as they satisfied their appetites with a series of interviews with the Cook-Off judges and members of the cooking teams, as well as a number of special guests. The interviews provided a mix of information about the cooking teams' native countries, the preparation and ingredients of the food and plenty of laughs. The interviews were conducted in a small side stage which resembled a late night talk show set. Led by Mark Warzinski, Production Manager, the Kent State Teleproductions team streamed the festivities live online so that family and friends overseas could join in the excitement.

The evening's excitement peaked when the awards ceremonies began. After welcoming  the judges and the six cooking team members to the stage, Dr. Kavulic opened three envelopes -- ala the Academy Awards - to sequentially reveal the third, second and first place winners as the audience responded with thunderous applause with each announcement.

  • First Place: India | Mughlai Chicken
  • Second Place: Brazil | Moqueca Bahiana de camarao
  • Third Place: Oman | Biryani with Chicken

Following the tabulation of the online audience voting, Dr. Kavulic completed the evening's ceremonies by revealing the winner of the People's Choice award. He was barely heard over the roar of the crowd for Team Oman which had already taken a third place finish by a determination of the Cook-Off's judges.

  • People's Choice: Oman | Biryani with Chicken

"I had a great time tasting different foods and experiencing the International Cook-Off for the first time. I will be coming back in future years! Besides having a great atmosphere, the event also showcased how diverse the Kent State University community is. Thank you for the great organization, it created a terrific experience for everyone that attended."
Ricardo Sepulveda, Director, Kent/Blossom Music Festival,

2017 International Cooking Teams and Menus

  • Brazil | Moqueca Bahiana de camarao
  • India | Mughlai Chicken
  • Oman | Biryani with Chicken
  • South Korea, Jeonju | Bibimbap
  • South Korea, Seoul | Royal Stir-Fried Rice Cake with Gochujang Pork Cupbap and Potato Pancake
  • Sri Lanka | Sri Lankan Fried Rice with Fish Balls and Chicken Curry

Team members and recipes

POSTED: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 12:02pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 4:50pm