Future chefs compete at Food Scene Eugene

The public came together on May 13 and 14 for the first annual Food Scene Eugene, a food and drink festival with great bites made by Lane’s own culinary students.

The festival was formed by members of the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program with the intent to rival to those offered in Portland, Bend and Ashland. The Eugene event was the first of its kind, and is unique in the fact that it was completely organized and operated by students.

It was also an opportunity to test the skills of Lane’s culinary students by giving them the opportunity to craft creative dishes.

Culinary students faced off by constructing dishes that bring out different tastes within the palette. The event sold out, with almost 300 hundred people in attendance — all trying to get a taste of what Food Scene Eugene had to offer.

People lined up to try every available dish. The crowd stood in awe as the food was prepared right in front of them.

The budding chefs either went solo in crafting the food or had professional chefs help mentor them.

David East, a culinary student who participated in the mentor process, walked around the event serving his creation in a bite-sized form for maximum effect and flavor. The dish was a polenta and lamb bite with a mint garnish.

“I took little bits of their menu [advisor chefs] and reworked it and came up with my own little dish,” East said.

Clive Wanstall, the instructor chef in the culinary program, was delighted with the effort that was put into making the bites.

“I didn’t tell them [Students] what to do,” Wanstall said. “I gave them my feedback on the dish but they went ahead and made the dish the way they wanted. They came up with the concept.”

It took almost everyone enrolled in the culinary program to organize this event.

Among the many dishes on display were lamb confit with tomato, sea scallops with mango chutney and polenta cake with duck and kimchi.

Guests were encouraged to vote in the contest, which decided the best student chef of the evening. The winner received a name-engraved trophy that will be kept in the Renaissance Room in the Center Building at Lane.

Maki Doolittle, a student chef, whipped up a kimchi and duck dish — which attendees waited in lines to try.

“I wanted to win,” Doolittle said. “I really liked duck and kimchi because it is part of my background, so that is why I chose these things to work with.”

The event also brought out many local businesses and artists to showcase all that they have to offer in the community. Hop Valley, Ninkasi, Hummingbird Wholesale and many other local businesses were all present and showcasing all of their products.

The event was a success with Megan Jackson winning for best bite with her wonton taco with broiled beef flank steak and black beans. The event showed off the effort and skill the culinary and hospitality students had made during this term with this event being the culmination of all their efforts.