Achieving a balance between “Chopped” and “Cupcake Wars,” Union Board hosted a Peanut Butter and Jelly Cook Off on Saturday, Oct. 5.
The event challenged chefs to create a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that defied conventionality. Over eight types of peanut butters and jellies were provided, not including miscellaneous spreads offered like Nutella and honey. Other supplies offered included marshmallows, various fruits, chocolate syrup, cookie cutters, sprinkles, cinnamon and applesauce.
Chefs were allotted five minutes to pick up supplies, and 15 to create three identical sandwiches. Ultimately, judges Associate Dean of Students Laura Schnack, Associate Director of Student Activities and Engagement Travis Greenlee and Associate Professor of Political Science Andy Civettini surveyed and tasted competing sandwiches, awarding Seminary Street gift cards to winners in various categories spanning from “Crowd Favorite” to “Best Presentation” and “Best Description of Sandwich.”
Sophomore Carly Berinstein won the latter award — a category made up in the midst of judging because the judges were so impressed with Berinstein’s description of her sandwich.
“I chose a marriage of two popular taste pairings in contemporary American cuisine: nut butter and bananas. I used almond butter … and sliced banana, and chocolate strawberry, represented with Nutella and fresh strawberry slices. I paired this with wheat bread, creating a hearty, more stable texture to compliment the delicate flavors inside and cut off the crusts, because — let’s be real — sandwiches taste better without them,” Berinstein, whose face was covered in Nutella war paint, told the judges
“I got pretty into it. Peanut butter and jelly is serious business,” Berinstein said.
Sophomore Kathryn Lanute won the Best Presentation award. She won a $25 Seminary Street gift card for her PB&J. The sandwich was a concoction of white chocolate peanut butter, chocolate chips and orange marmalade drizzled in chocolate syrup and cut into triangles with the crusts cut off.
“It was beautifully presented,” Lanute said. “I’m very happy. Pleasantly surprised.”
The event was well attended by both individuals and Knox families, and the competitors appeared immersed in their cooking and excited by the event.
“I really felt my creative juices flowing. And my competitive ones,” Berinstein said. “I got pretty into it. I was there to compete, and compete I did.”