Celebrity chef Jet Tila hosts cooking competition with HMCU


Nishtha Sharma, Staff Writer

Celebrity chef Jet Tila took part in a contest hosted by Horace Mann Chefs United (HMCU), where pairs of students faced off in a Cutthroat Kitchen-style cooking competition on Wednesday, May 2nd.

Tila gave students 15 minutes to prepare a salad with the ingredients in the school’s cafe-teria. Competitors were then judged by physical education teacher Matt Russo and a FLIK chef.

Tila incorporated trivia questions and different challenges into the competition. After par-ticipants co-President of HMCU Becca Siegel (11) and her partner had answered a trivia question correctly, they were given the opportunity to give their opponents a different in-gredient to incorporate in their salad, Siegel said. These ingredients ranged from straw-berry glazed donuts to Lucky Charms. “Everyone took their own creative routes,” Liz For-tunato (11) said.

Fortunato and Young Joon Kim (11) were declared the unofficial winners of the competi-tion. “I felt accomplished and proud that [the judges] thought Liz ‘s and my salad was the best,” Kim said. “Jet Tila’s visit is definitely something I’ll always remember.”

Students were excited to work with Tila before the competition. “I watch a lot of his shows, like Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen, so I was kind of nervous at first,” Kim said.

“I remember being ecstatic when I found out [Tila] was visiting,” Fortunato said. “To actually cook in front of him was certainly nerve-wracking, but even through out the rest of the school day and when I came home, I was awestruck,” she said.

Fortunato felt that she learned how to cook with other people, to be more willing to take feedback, and adapt to the circumstances, she said. “Despite the stress of having to cook in such a short time span, I loved to see that everyone who got to participate was having a fun time,” she said. “Every-one there loved cooking and we were all there for that reason.”

HMCU organized Tila’s visit with the help of Flik director Brenda Cohn. “Ms. Cohn pitched the idea to us because she knew Tila, and this event really happened thanks to her,” co-President of HMCU Evan Wu (11) said.