University News

WIU Campus Dining Plans Annual Copper Chef Competition Feb. 26

February 20, 2014

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University's version of the Food Network's "Iron Chef" will take place Wednesday, Feb. 26 as two Dining Services chefs square off in the 12th annual Copper Chef competition in the Corbin/Olson Dining Center on campus.

The culinary competition will include play-by-play coverage, kitchen-themed décor, local celebrity judges and delicious foods.

This competition was designed to showcase the culinary talents of the executive chefs for the WIU Dining Service. Corbin Olson Dining Center Executive Chef Laurence Shiner will challenge reigning champion WIU Director of Dining Operations Chef Dan Murphy. Assisting Murphy will be Lincoln Washington Grote Complex Director Brett Bucholz and Hollie Butcher, assistant complex director for Grote Hall. In Shiner's corner will be Lizzie Gill, assistant complex director of Olson Hall and Eddie Koelzer, Thompson Hall assistant complex director.

The chefs and their assistants will have one hour to prepare three dishes that incorporate three secret ingredients. Throughout the show, the Master of Ceremonies, Joe Perone, Thompson Dining Hall manager, will interact with the audience and competitors, conducting trivia games with prizes for the audience. Perone will be assisted by Michelle Lowery, Anna Filson and Alyssa Baerman.

A panel of celebrity judges will taste each dish prepared by the chefs and independently score each dish according to taste, creativity and presentation. Their score sheets will be tallied and the 12th annual Copper Chef champion will be crowned and presented with the coveted copper tray by General Manager Ada Neighbors.

Thompson Dining Center Chef Josh Filson will commentate the show, keeping the audience informed of what cooking methods chefs are using and how the dishes are progressing.

This year's judges include:
• Darcie Shinberger, assistant vice president for Advancement & Public Services
• Mishelle Oaks, residence life director
• Mary Mhango, chair of the Department of Dietetics, Fashion Merchandising & Hospitality
• Cathy Early, Western Illinois University Board of Trustees member
• Caleb Markey, president of the WIU Student Government Association
• Tommy Bell, director of Intercollegiate Athletics
• Sarah Moore, Bayliss Henninger Hall complex director
• Ivan Petkov, senior operational support manager for Sodexo
• One student from the audience

The Copper Chef event is open free to the public, and the featured ingredients will be kept secret until the event begins. The show will also be broadcast on local cable channels 3 and 17 at a later date.

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations