Beef takes center stage in cooking contest at Nebraska State Fair |

Beef takes center stage in cooking contest at Nebraska State Fair

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For more information about the Beef Masters Culinary Challenge, visit the Nebraska Beef Council Facebook page.

Beef took center stage at the Nebraska State Fair Sept. 2 during the “Beef Masters Culinary Challenge” presented by the Nebraska Beef Council and Central Community College in Hastings. The contest was modeled after the popular television series “Chopped,” where chef contestants compete to create the best dish using ingredients from a mystery basket. The contest at the State Fair featured four teams of culinary students from Central Community College in Hastings.

“We had a lot of fun with the Nebraska’s Best Burger contest at the fair last year and so we wanted to keep that excitement going,” said Adam Wegner, director of marketing for the Nebraska Beef Council. “The contestants will be preparing various beef dishes for a panel of judges. It will be exciting because the contestants won’t know what the beef cuts are or what the other ingredients will be until moments before the contest begins.”

The student chefs worked in teams of two and had 30 minutes to prepare, plate and serve their dish to the judges. Each round, one team was eliminated until a winner was determined.

“This is such a great opportunity for our students to use their creativity and to show off the culinary skills they’ve learned through our program,” said Lindsay Higel, hospitality management and culinary arts program director at Central Community College in Hastings. “You have to be able to think on your feet when you’re a chef. Sometimes you have to improvise and make adjustments along the way.”

The contestants competed for prizes and the coveted title of “Beef Master.” Audience members also had the opportunity to win door prizes and other give-a-ways.

“We want this event to be both entertaining and educational,” Wegner said. “The audience will walk away with creative ideas for putting beef on the table and confidence that they too can create some delicious beef meals right at home.” ❖


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