On Friday afternoon, the exhibit hall was filled with the aromas of fresh basil, garlic, olive oil and a dash of camaraderie as four teams stirred up culinary masterpieces at the first annual EMS Today Cook Off Challenge.
Bob Page, president of Edutainment, emceed the lively contest. Page says he was impressed with the culinary expertise of every team. “I’d invite them all over to my house to cook for me any time,” he says. Page says watching the teams at work was almost like watching a crew working on a scene. “Everybody was moving all the time. I was impressed with their teamwork,” he says.
The four teams were challenged to cook a meal in one hour, incorporating five basic ingredients commonly found in most kitchens into their dishes: chicken, onion, red pepper, garlic and tomato—plus any additional spices.
Team Palatable Podcasters of ProMed chefs Carissa Caramanis O’Brien and Chris Montera cooked up Rescued by Chicken; team Cooking with Canucks’s chefs Jan Hiebert and Debbie Oesch offered Greek Taverna sandwiches with garlic feta cheese tzatziki and a Greek salad; the Westhampton War Memorial Ambulance team chefs Dina Wayrich, Tracy Martin and Tonya Halsey-Schunk created chicken pesto with bruschetta; and the Bandaid Brigade made chicken and shrimp quesadillas with fresh pico de gallo.
Each team presented their tasty entrees to the judging panel, and one team even offered some wine to go along with theirs. The lucky judges were Bob Hammonds, executive director of the Kentucky Board of EMS; James Robinson, assistant chief of Operations of the paramedic division of Denver Health; and William Sugiyama, Fire Division chief/manager of EMS for the City of Oakland. Judges ranked the entrees based on the following four elements: taste, originality, presentation, ease of replication and heart healthiness. Each judge used a 30 point scale, with 90 points being a perfect score.
After the judges had an hour to savor all the flavors, they decided the tastiest of all was the Bandaid Brigade’s chicken and shrimp quesadillas. As the grand prize winners, the brigade won free goldpasses for the 2012 conference; they got to keep their cooking grill, and each of they also received a JEMS EMS Monopoly game. Runners up Patatable Podcasters also received their cooking grill and an EMS Monopoly game.
For the recipes and more coverage on this event, check out www.EMSToday.com.