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Step up to the plate: U of T looking for student chefs as it gears up for Iron Chef competition at McGill

Felipe Branco and Jordan Su were on the U of T team that finished second in the Iron Chef culinary competition last winter (photo by Geoffrey Vendeville)

If you can take the heat, get into the kitchen.

The University of Toronto is looking for four skilled student chefs to represent the school at the annual Iron Chef competition.

As in the contest’s reality TV namesake, the team will be asked to prepare dishes using a mystery box of ingredients unveiled shortly before the competition, all within a time limit.

James Piggott, U of T’s executive chef of residential dining at New College, is returning as the team’s coach after guiding U of T to second place when the university hosted the competition last year. Although U of T’s quick-cured salmon earned the award for best appetizer, the university was no match for past champions, the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

This year’s contest is being hosted by McGill University in Montreal on Feb. 24.

Those who have culinary know-how, including basic knife skills, and the stomach for competition are urged to apply online before Dec. 19.

Jordan Su, who made the Iron Chef team last winter and graduated in June, says the experience helped him land a job at Five Sails restaurant in Vancouver, named one of the best restaurants in Canada by OpenTable.

“If anyone ever fantasized about being in chef’s white and cooking in a professional kitchen with a team and orchestrating delicious dishes, they should apply,” he says.

Applicants must be part- or full-time students, who are available for try-outs on Jan. 9 on the downtown Toronto campus. They also need to be free for practices on Tuesday or Thursday evenings in January and early February. Accommodations, travel and meals will be provided by U of T.