Recipe for Networking

CAFNR students apply what they’ve learned in the classroom

Keric Crow and Andrew Scheiderer both grew up loving to cook. Scheiderer started cooking at a young age with his grandma and eventually began cooking on his own. Crow’s interest in the culinary arts started in high school when he enrolled in ProStart, a two-year program that teaches culinary techniques and management practices to high school students.

The two seniors, both studying hospitality management with an emphasis in food and beverage, recently joined adjunct instructor Mike Keene in the Mid-Missouri Taste of Elegance cooking competition, an event sponsored by the Missouri Pork Association. The competition was held at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia.

The Taste of Elegance competition began in 1987 and hosts several regional competitions annually. From there, winning chefs are then invited to compete at the National Taste of Elegance. Eight teams, each made up of three people, presented a meal featuring a pork entrée to be judged by guests and a panel of four judges.

Crow, Scheiderer and Keene’s brazed lollipop pork chop, mashed cauliflower and sautéed spinach captured the people’s choice award and third place from the judges.

“We really wanted to focus on the people’s choice, not just the judge’s portion,” Crow said.

While selecting ingredients to use, the team looked to current food trends, like gluten and lactose-free, to guide them.

“We wanted everyone to be able to try our meal,” Crow said.

The competition provided the students with the opportunity to meet leading chefs in the Columbia area and make valuable connections.

“I think one of the main things that I gained, which wasn’t something that I really expected to gain, was networking,” Scheiderer said.

“I learned to get out of my bubble,” Crow said. “Go do competitions like this one, go stick your neck out there and try to get your name out there and recognized, because even the guy that took eighth place got his name out there.”

Both Crow, who is from Bolivar, Missouri, and Scheiderer, from Springfield, Missouri, will be working in the food industry after graduating this May.