Jan. 24, 2009
ANAHEIM, Calif. -
College Baseball coaches from San Diego to Santa Barbara, including Northridge Head Coach Steve Rousey, convened at the ESPN Zone in Anaheim Saturday morning to show off their skills and creativity.
Their tools of choice however were not a glove, a baseball, or a bat but a skillet, a spatula, and a number of ingredients at their disposal as participants in the inaugural Baseball Cooking Challenge.
The event was organized similar to the popular Food Network television 'Iron Chef' where the coaches needed to make a number of dishes utilizing a secret ingredient not known to any of the participants until the final moments leading up to the start of the culinary competition.
Whereas chefs participating in the television show need to complete a total of five dishes in one hour, all utilizing the secret ingredient, the coaches needed to only create two entrees each within a twenty-minute time period.
All of the coaches needed to replicate one of the ESPN Zone's more popular dishes, a Chicken Penne Pasta Dish with Sun-Dried Tomatoes as one of their meals before completing another recipe of their own creation utilizing the secret ingredient, pasta.
With a variety of ingredients to choose from, Coach Rousey decided to utilize a higher number of herbs, spices, and vegetables in his creation, a strategy that differed from most of his competitors.
In doing so, the judges awarded Rousey the title of 'Best Creativity' for his California Green Dish, an offering that mainly consisted of bow tie pasta, chicken, parsley, garlic, spinach in a marinara sauce enhanced with a variety of other ingredients at Rousey's disposal.
"I just wanted to make as healthy a dish as possible with the ingredients that were available to me," stated Rousey.
With Rousey's wife and children in attendance, the self-proclaimed 'Head of Domestic Operations' might have placed himself in a precarious position; with baseball season quickly approaching, Rousey may also have to swap his baseball cap for a chef's toque more often than he originally anticipated as all of the family members who sampled the dish were not shy about voicing their appreciation for the newly-created culinary masterpiece.
By only a one-point margin, Southern California's head coach Chad Kreuter left the ESPN Zone as the overall winner of the event. In addition to Rousey, UC Santa Barbara's head coach Bob Brontsema ended up winning the award for 'Best Presentation', with Kreuter also receiving recognition as the winner of the 'Best Taste' award.
2009 ESPN Zone Coaches Cooking Challenge Participants
Cal State Fullerton: Dave Serrano
Cal State Long Beach: Mike Weathers
Cal State Northridge: Steve Rousey
Loyola Marymount University: Jason Gill
Pepperdine: Steve Rodriguez
UC Irvine: Mike Gillespie
University of Southern California: Chad Kreuter
University of San Diego: Rich Hill
UC Santa Barbara: Bob Brontsema