Battle of the Dining Halls: Food Fight 2020

March 06, 2020

On February 19, Columbia Dining hosted its third annual “Food Fight” event as part of the Battle of the Dining Halls, an epic cook-off between the University’s three residential dining halls. Guest judge Chef Robert Irvine presided over the festivities alongside five student judges, serving up honest feedback and dishing out glowing reviews of the teams’ entrees themed according to this year’s cooking challenge: reinventing a childhood classic.  

Chef Irvine and five student judges awarded the belt to Ferris Booth Commons, who also took the people’s choice award, for their Arroz con Pollo. The vegan offering was Mofongo with Mushroom Ragu. “The plantains, the rice, the chicken, the broth….on a scale of 1-10, I give it a 10,” glowed Chef Irvine. 

JJ's Place wowed with their innovative concept of Burger 'in' Fries, with a vegan alternative called Beet ‘in’ Fries. The guest of honor particularly liked the creation, adding with a wink, “I’m gonna steal it.” 

Though John Jay impressed with their Braised Short Rib-Mac and Cheese Pot Pie, the star of their menu was their vegan Smoked Tofu-Mac and Cheese Pot Pie. Chef Irvine was so taken by this dish, he said, “this should be a mainstay item on the menu – it's unbelievable.” 

The student panel mirrored Chef Irvine’s enthusiasm for the prepared fare. “You did an incredible job – we're so lucky to be here,” remarked one of the student judges.  

Chef Irvine closed the event with words of encouragement for all three teams, saying “I would be happy to have any one of the teams on my team. You lead college dining. Period.” 

With another exciting competition complete, the teams are already in the kitchens dreaming up dishes for next year. This is the third year Columbia Dining has hosted the Food Fight. Previous guest judges included Marcus Samuelsson and Alex Guarnaschelli.