Three Linn-Benton Community College culinary arts students showed off their creativity as they competed in a hazelnut cooking competition sponsored by the Oregon Hazelnut Board and the Chambers family. In addition to bragging rights, the students also had the chance to win cash prizes from the Oregon Hazelnut Board, a Hazelnut Cookbook written by local Oregon author Jan Roberts-Dominguez, and fresh hazelnuts from the Chambers family.
All of the competitors were second-year students in their final term of the LBCC culinary program. The first dish, prepared by Logan Peet, was Hazelnut Khang Phet Curry. The dish featured “Roasted vegetables cooked in a hand-pounded curry paste with hazelnut-tempura shrimp served with a Thai herb salad,” according to the menu.
Aren Kyle also went the savory route. His dish was Catalan Fideua with a description that read, “House-made toasted hazelnut pasta in a seafood hazelnut fume, topped with fried hazelnuts, served with hazelnut bread, drizzled with a hazelnut-lemon vinaigrette.”
And finally, the lone dessert, Homage to Hazelnut, was prepared by Andrew Hulcy. It was a “Dark chocolate-hazelnut brownie with a hazelnut florentine and toasted vanilla ice cream on a bed of hazelnut crumble, garnished with hazelnut ganache, pastry cream, and strawberries,” according to the menu.
Each dish was judged by the four judges in four different categories: plate presentation, flavor, use of hazelnuts, and level of difficulty. The judges had such a difficult time crowning a winner that one judge even resorted to half-point increments in some categories.
It was a razor-thin margin, but Peet’s Hazelnut Khang Phet Curry was crowned the winner of this year’s competition. Once Peet finishes at LBCC he is off to Hawaii to further his education in nutrition.