The tension was intense at the second annual “Cutthroat Cook-off” in late April. The competitors were fierce and came from some of the most celebrated restaurants around Wichita, Kansas.
Sous Chef Georgia Shook of Boyd Gaming's Kansas Star Casino kept calm, cool and collected throughout the battle.
“She made us very proud,” said Kansas Star Casino Executive Chef James McNulty. “Coming up with creative dishes on the fly takes a great amount of culinary aptitude.”
A fundraiser for Special Olympics Kansas, the live cooking show paired local chefs, celebrities and leaders for multiple food preparation challenges.
During timed intervals, the audience watched as contestants produced various courses of a meal on the fly using mystery baskets of ingredients, strange utensils, penalty box-style time-outs and more. They prepared the food under bright lights, amid intense heat and in limited space.
Adding to the excitement, contestants were given obstacles by the audience during the timed challenges. For instance, in one case of sabotage, contestants had to wear a horse head while preparing food.
Shook's contributions to each course included gluten-free, bacon salad sliders (appetizer), shrimp and pork belly pasta with red pepper cream sauce (entrée) and a fruit brulée with caramel topping (dessert). The appetizer and dessert rounds were 10 minutes each while the entrée round was 20 minutes.
Shook, who became a chef in March 2017, didn't win this year's contest. But the Kansas Star Casino chef says she would love to participate again.
“It was a great adventure that could lead to more competitive cooking experiences in the future,” said Shook.
McNulty agrees: “The cook-off was a great way to contribute to the community while showcasing Georgia’s cooking talents as well as bringing the Kansas Star name into the community.”