'Cook-off to Kickoff' to precede men’s soccer game against Gonzaga

By Natalie Rubio-Licht | November 4, 2017 11:37am

Students and parents enjoyed a Bite on The Bluff during freshman orientation. This year's Cook-Off to Kickoff will take place on Saturday at 5 p.m. in the Chiles Mezzanine.
by Jeffrey Braccia / The Beacon

Dorms participating in the “Cook-off to Kickoff” will present tasty, homemade dishes on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 5:30 p.m. in the Chiles Mezzanine. All students are invited, and samples of all the dishes are free to students.

The cook-off will precede the Pilot men’s soccer game against Gonzaga, which will be the last game of the regular season. Organizers also expect the cook-off to align with halftime of the men’s basketball preseason game against Lewis and Clark College.

“Everybody’s going to just cook their food with a committee going around with scorecards,” said ASUP President Brandon Rivera, “then we’ll tally up the scores and see the winner.”

Although last year participating residence halls were limited to cooking chili, this year they are free to cook whatever they’d like. 

“There's a few dessert dishes, a few meal dishes and a few appetizers, so students can walk around and get a full meal,” said Associate Athletics Director of External Relations Karina Handeland. 

According to Rivera, they have not decided on judges yet, but the panel will consist of students, administrators and various community members. The chefs for each dorm will be student volunteers, hall councils and hall directors. 

“They’re going to be grading the food on presentation, taste and creativity — kind of like Food Network does it,” Rivera said. 

In partnership with ASUP, the Athletic Department has had a large role in coordinating the event. 

“We’re cosponsoring it with ASUP and we are funding it,” Handeland said. “It's in our facility, were doing all the setup and organization.” 

Residence Life is also playing a key organizational role in the event.

“Each dorm picks an item that they want to make, (the Athletic Department) pays for the ingredients,” Handeland said. “The (students are) in charge of picking and cooking their item, as well as getting their residents to come out and support.” 

Last year’s event garnered crowds of over 1,000 people, according to Rivera, and organizers expect a similar crowd this year. 

Since each residence hall will be preparing a dish, if 500 to 1000 community members come to the cook-off, Rivera expects that each person should be able to get a sample size taste of each dish for free.

After the cook-off, students are encouraged to head over to Merlo Field to cheer on the men’s soccer team in its last regular season home game. Handeland said turnout and participation in this event is also important for the team’s morale.

“It makes a huge difference when there’s a large student crowd, with people cheering and supporting,” Handeland said, “We have amazing student fans, and they can drastically change how the game goes.” 

The inspiration behind the cook-off is to bring students together and build a sense of community at UP.

“It's going to be a really fun event, people should come out,” Rivera said. “It’s all about building community, we don’t really have Greek life here, we don’t have football and we don't have the opportunity to do tailgates often, so this is the closest thing to something like that atmosphere.”