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UGA Food Services chef to compete in culinary challenge

Shelly plating at regional culinary challenge
thyme butter carrots

Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia Food Services Chef Shelly Orozco-Marrs has been selected to compete in the regional Culinary Challenge at the National Association of College and University Food Services Southern Region Conference March 8 at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.

The NACUFS Culinary Challenge recognizes outstanding food preparation and presentation skills in collegiate food service programs. Chefs are selected to compete at the regional level after preparing a dish from a predetermined mandatory ingredient and submitting a photo and description of their dish to the regional Culinary Challenge chair. Selection is based on many factors, including originality, presentation, cooking methods and nutritional analysis.

This year’s mandatory ingredient is duck. At the regional competition, Orozco-Marrs will prepare seared duck with pancetta and chevre polenta, thyme butter carrots, sautéed arugula and spiced Madeira cherry jus. In front of a live audience of college and university food service managers as well as industry suppliers, she will compete against chefs from Georgia Southern University, Oklahoma State University, University of North Carolina, University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Vanderbilt University.

Orozco-Marrs and her competitors will have 80 minutes to cook their dish, which will include five minutes to set their stations, 60 minutes to cook, 10 minutes to plate four dishes and five minutes to clean and exit their stations. Chefs will be penalized in scoring if their food is not to the judges at the end of 70 minutes, if their dishes are plated prior to the time allotted for plating or if they have not cleaned and exited their stations at the end of 80 minutes.

Judging will take place during and after the competition; and criteria will include organization, sanitation, cooking skills, culinary technique, creativity, portion size, flavor and texture, ingredient compatibility, nutritional balance and presentation. The only assistance allowed is the help of one volunteer in cleaning and delivering of plates to the judges.

The first place winner from each region will go on to the national competition in July.

Orozco-Marrs competed and placed in the 2011 Southern Region Culinary Challenge where she received a bronze medal from the American Culinary Federation.