Apr 282013
Photos by Jay Clark/ECU News ServiceECU student Kim Opsal, right, and Monisha Mayo of J.H. Rose High School work together on team

Photos by Jay Clark/ECU News ServiceECU student Kim Opsal, right, and Monisha Mayo of J.H. Rose High School work together on team “Slim Jim” during ECU’s Steel Chef competition.

ECU notes:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Orange juice, mint leaves and five medium turnips: they might not sound like the best mix for a sweet concoction, but at an East Carolina University culinary competition, those ingredients were combined into mint turnip cupcakes that took first prize.

The ECU Steel Chef competition was held April 3 at the Golden Corral Culinary Center on campus as part of the College of Human Ecology’s celebration of Hospitality Week.

The annual event pits teams of students against one another in an event modeled after television’s popular Iron Chef competition. Four teams of students were given two secret ingredients and told to complete an entrée and appetizer (or dessert) in just under an hour. In a new twist this year, each team included a mystery chef, chosen from students in J.H. Rose High School’s culinary arts program.

Now in its fifth year, the Steel Chef competition is gaining momentum. ARAMARK Culinary Director Chef Paul Cyr has served as head judge each year. He said the students’ creativity and competency levels have risen each year, but the turnip mint cupcakes were the most creative dish he has seen in the history of the competition.

The winning team, named “Lettuce Turnip the Beet,” included ECU students Jennifer Freeman, Amanda West and Elizabeth Kroeger with mystery chef Nydeira Council of J.H. Rose High School.

The other teams were “Legendiary,” with Frank Walsh, Ashton Kidwell and William Scott Allen; “NutriYummy!” with Ayushi Shah, Michelle LaRue, Maria Bailey and Matt Haak; and “Slim Jim” with Maryssa Kuchta, Andrew Reynolds, Kimberly Opsal and Monisha Mayo.

ECU hospitality leadership student Elizabeth Copeland has participated in Steel Chef for three years and managed this year’s event. “The event went very smoothly, especially given that we added the high school students to the mix,” Copeland said.

“I am very happy about how things turned out and quite proud of everyone because the food was delicious. Also, it was an amazing opportunity to work with ECU-TV to record the event for their channel. It really helps us to reach a broader audience,” she said.

J.H. Rose High School student Nydeira Council saw the competition as a way to challenge her problem-solving abilities. “Everything we learn in the food classes at school helped prepare me for the event, but being in the kitchen at Steel Chef really challenged me to think on my feet,” Council said.

“We are very proud of all of the student competitors – even if it was a nutrition team that ultimately won this hospitality event,” said Robert O’Halloran, chair of the School of Hospitality Leadership. “Next year we will reclaim the top spot!”


Dental faculty member named Apple Distinguished Educator


Dr. R. Todd Watkins Jr. of the ECU School of Dental Medicine has been named to the Apple Distinguished Educators Class of 2013.

Representatives of Apple were at the dental school April 17 to recognize Watkins, assistant dean for dental education and informatics. They also presented the school with the Apple Distinguished Program Award.

Apple described its distinguished educators as “part of a global community of education leaders recognized for doing amazing things with Apple technology in and out of the classroom. They explore new ideas, seek new paths, and embrace new opportunities.” Distinguished educators also advise Apple on integrating technology into learning environments and share their expertise with other teachers and policy makers.

“Dr. Watkins has a unique ability to visualize and implement education for the current generation of professional students,” said Dr. Greg Chadwick, dean of the ECU School of Dental Medicine. “All of the technologies that the ECU School of Dental Medicine has implemented and will implement focus on the mission of the program. It is truly innovation with purpose.”

Apple computers and mobile devices are the primary computer technology used at the dental school. Dental students, faculty and staff members use Apple laptops, iPhones and iPads for administrative work, teaching and communicating.

At ECU, Watkins has created customized problem-based learning networks, implemented seven different e-books/journals and has filed a patent for a new competency-based outcomes assessment engine in the form of a grid called XComP (extensible competencies platform), which is being prepared for commercialization through ECU.

“I have had an interesting career, balancing academic program development with corporate product development,” Watkins said. “I wish to use this opportunity to help develop the next generation of technology tools and educational strategies.”

Watkins, a native of Gastonia, has a bachelor’s and dental degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He completed an advanced education in general dentistry residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and also served on the faculty there. His work in designing instructional software led to the creation of VitalSource, which develops electronic textbooks and other educational technology.

He is a member of the American Dental Education Association and the American Medical Informatics Association.

In January, the School of Dental Medicine was named an Apple Distinguished Program for 2012-2013 for the innovative implementation of technology in all aspects of its instructional, problem-solving and clinical education programs.


Upcoming Events


  • Today-Tuesday: “The Furies,” 2 p.m. today and 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday at McGinnis Theatre. It is the final play in a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus, to be performed by the ECU/Loessin Playhouse. Tickets $12.50 for adults, $10 for students. Contact McGinnis Theatre Box Office at 252-328-6829 or 1-800-ECU-ARTS.
  • Wednesday: Founders Day/University Awards Day, 9 a.m. Hendrix Theatre in the Mendenhall Student Center. The event celebrates the establishment of ECU by the N.C. General Assembly 106 years ago. Top awards in teaching, engagement, research and creative achievement, leadership and the Centennial Awards for Excellence will be announced. Reception to follow the ceremony.

via The Daily Reflector.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.