In early March, the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) hosted the Student Taste of Elegance at the Iowa Culinary Institute on the Des Moines Area Community College campus in Ankeny. Eleven teams from five different colleges and universities competed in the contest.
“IPPA annually hosts this culinary contest to help students build their skills and confidence in cooking pork,” said Kelsey Sutter, marketing and programs director at IPPA. “It also inspires students to think about innovative and exciting ways to present pork on menus.”
Winners in the student competition receive scholarships and feedback from professional chefs. This year’s competing teams created an original pork entrÃ©e using pork belly as the main cut.
The 1st place team at the March contest was Kirkwood Community College (KCC) students Maiah Johanningmeier, Decorah, and Richard Byrd, Iowa City. They prepared Dashi Sous Vide Pork Belly with Sweet Potato Pave, Homemade Kimichi, Marinated Egg, Chicharron and Satay Sauce. Johanningmeier and Byrd each receive $100 scholarships from IPPA, and the KCC culinary program received $750 for their scholarship fund.
A team from Iowa State University received 2nd place by preparing Crispy Herb-Braised Pork Belly with Leek Ricotta Cream, Acorn Squash Fries and Fib-Cabernet Reduction. ISU students on the team were Cristina Franco-Olvera, McAllen, Texas, Anna Sullivan, Cedar Rapids, and Sara Siebrecht, Sheldon. These three students received $50 scholarships each, and ISU’s culinary program received $500 from IPPA for their scholarship fund
The 3rd place team came from Iowa Western Community College (IWCC). The student team, which included Brent Gallaher, Atlantic, Marie Chocolate, Council Bluffs, and Clayton West, Atlantic, prepared Slow-Roasted Southern Style Pork Belly. The students received $25 scholarships each, and the IWCC culinary program received $250 for their scholarship fund.
Other schools that had teams participating in the contest were Des Moines Area Community College and Indian Hills. Each of the participating schools each received a $500 stipend for food and contest expenses for the contest.
The contest is made possible through the Pork Checkoff program and is supported by IPPA’s restaurant and food service committee.