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UNC dining hall hopes to fry NC State in culinary cookoff

UNC students are passionate about two things: beating N.C. State and Lenoir Dining Hall cookies. These two passions will come together tonight when Carolina Dining Services will face off against N.C. State’s University Dining to a culinary competition at the Top of Lenoir. 

UNC students, like junior Debbie Coggins, are excited about another opportunity for UNC to beat the Wolfpack. 

“I’m really looking forward to the competition. Go Heels!” she said.

The event will be the first of what may become an annual tradition.

“There’s been talk to branch out and have friendly competition floating around,” UNC Executive Chef Michael Gueiss said. “Now we’re finally doing it.” 

Gueiss said competing against other chefs will help Carolina Dining Services really perfect their recipes.

“You only get better with events like this,” said Gueiss.

Despite being head chef, Gueiss won’t actually be working the ovens tonight. 

“I’m acting as a coach for a team of Carolina students,” he said.

The competition will involve Gueiss and an N.C. State chef directing students from their respective universities on how to prepare what each hopes will be the best meal of the night.

“I really hope the students have fun, and that they learn a little cooking along the way,” Gueiss said.

To prevent a home-field advantage for Carolina Dining Services, judges from Wake Tech, the Art Institute and the Chef’s Academy will evaluate the final products. 

“We are making it as impartial as we can,” Gueiss said.

Unlike the competition between the two schools’ football and basketball teams, UNC and N.C. State’s chefs consider their rivalry to be a friendly one.

“What we really hope is that, more than anything, people have fun at our event,” Gueiss said.

Although the competition will be friendlier than the rival schools’ basketball game tomorrow, the odds of getting to go to the event are even smaller than winning student lottery tickets to the Dean Dome.

“Overall, it’ll be about 70 people,” he said.

Among those are faculty from both UNC and N.C. State, along with 20 students from each school. UNC students attending were selected by having the highest meal plan participation at the whole school — a reward for resisting the temptations of eating every meal at Franklin Street restaurants like Moe’s and Spicy 9. 

Although Guiess and his team plan on keeping their meal plans a secret until the big reveal, he was willing to give one hint about the final product.

“One of our dishes will involve being sauteed in duck fat,” Gueiss said.

Senior Ahmad Mosabbeh believes the Carolina Dining Service’s meal will be crowned the winner of tonight’s competition. 

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“I’m excited to have the culinary skill of N.C. State’s chefs here at Lenoir,” Mosabbeh said. “But I think we’re gonna kick their butts.” 

Even if UNC’s meal isn’t crowned the winner, Guiess said he thinks the event will be a success if people have fun and enjoy their food.

“What’s most important is making sure we put some really good products and produce something that’s tasty.”


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