Co-Lin cook-off set for Wednesday

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 21, 2007

NATCHEZ — The heat will be on for two chefs as they and their teams compete for the title of iron team.

Chef Ron Banks, last year’s champion, will be challenged by Lanny Brasher, executive chef at Monmouth Plantation. The event will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, at Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Natchez campus, in the W.L. Nelson Multi-Purpose Room.

This is the fourth year for the competition, which is free and open to the public. A $1 donation will be accepted at the door.

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The chefs have more than 40 years combined in the business. Banks is a chef on the coast and had been executive chef at the Isle of Capri in Natchez when he won the competition in 2006.

The show is modeled after the popular TV Food Network program, “Iron Chef,” which involves chefs creating dishes based on standard and “secret” ingredients revealed to them at the beginning of the show.

Sheri Rabb, television account executive for Comcast Spotlight, will call the play-by-play — or chop-by-chop — and Mark LaFrancis, director of public information and the show’s creator, along with Nancy Best, instructor for the hospitality/tourism management technology program, are coordinating the event.

“This promises to be a terrific show; the competition will be serious, but the show will be fun,” said Best. “Our goal is not just to entertain, but to show the skills our students have attained in our program.”

Five judges will critique the dishes and vote on their choice. Last year’s winner was decided by only a fraction of a point.

Judges are: Darryl Grennell, president of the Adams County Board of Supervisors; Teresa Harrison, dean of the Natchez campus; Christina Hall, food columnist for The Natchez Democrat; Jennifer Minor, radio personality for WTYJ Radio; and Bill Salters, vice president of Britton & Koontz First National Bank and president of the Co-Lin Foundation Board of Trustees.

The chefs will be joined by students in the hospitality/tourism management technology program who have completed culinary training.

“I expect our celebrity chefs will dig into their bag of culinary tricks and skills to outdo one another,” Best said. “This should be interesting. I encourage people to arrive early for a good seat.”