Faculty and staff cooking

Feb 24, 2006

Faculty and staff participated in a cooking competition in Kettering's Sunrise Room this past Monday-Wednesday, Feb. 20-22, an event that by some accounts tripled sales.

Most people, particularly students, know them as experts in their field of study-Manufacturing Engineering, Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering. But what happens when you throw them into the kitchen and force them to cook a meal worth eating?

For Mechanical Engineering Professor Jackie El-Sayed '86, Manufacturing Engineering Professor Pete Gheresus and Reg Bell, professor of Chemistry, the answer to this questions revolves around a tasty blackened shrimp dish, which won the Battle of the Brains Faculty and Staff Cooking competition. Their team-dubbed the Wednesday Wacky Wonders-received a total of 1,727 votes for their culinary creation.

WNEM TV5 covered the event and broadcast it on the daily news. For students, the competition meant a change of pace to the food they typically receive in Kettering's Sunrise Room. According to El-Sayed, sales on Wednesday of this week "tripled," and customers came back to the grilling station for seconds of their blackened shrimp dish, she added.

Gheresus and Bell, two long-time, well-liked professors at the institution, thought this was a great way to connect with students and show them another side of the faculty and staff who participated. When a television news member asked what cooking has to do with engineering, Gheresus had an answer already waiting: "Manufacturing Engineering is related to cooking because what you do in manufacturing is take raw materials, process them and produce a product. It's the same thing with making a meal. So naturally I should be a good cook."

This response drew many chuckles, but it's difficult to argue with the result. For their efforts, El-Sayed, Gheresus and Bell received certificates of achievement, five free lunch passes to the Sunrise Room each, a first place medal and ribbon, and a specially inscribed stainless steel skilled that future winning teams will receive each year for display in one of the team member's office. Dr. John Lorenz, Kettering provost, presented the award to the team on Wednesday during a lunchtime awards ceremony.

Written by Gary J. Erwin
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