Event Highlights Southern California College Media Day
Anaheim, CA–Various coaches from Southern California, including six from the Big West Conference, traded in their baseball bats for spatulas today at the ESPN Zone Anaheim in the Downtown Disney District for the SoCal
Media Day event. Combined with the SoCal Media Day was the second annual NCAA Baseball Coaches Cook-Off as coaches from the Big West, Pac-10, Mountain West and West Coast conferences showed off their skills behind the hot plate.
Competing from the Big West in this “Iron Chef”-style competition were Larry Lee (Cal Poly), Dave Serrano (Cal State Fullerton), Steve Rousey (Cal State Northridge), Mike Gillespie (UC Irvine), Doug Smith (UC Riverside), and Bob Brontsema (UC Santa Barbara). Joining them in the competition were defending champion Chad Kreuter from USC, Jason Gill from Loyola Marymount, John Savage from UCLA, Rich Hill from San Diego and Steve Rodriguez from Pepperdine.
Coaches teamed with an ESPN Zone chef to prepare an entree in a 20-minute time period and present their creations to a panel of judges. The dishes were
graded on presentation, creativity, and most importantly taste. Along with competing for top honors in all three categories the coveted “Top Chef” honor was also awarded for the highest overall score.
Serrano redeemed himself from last year where he won the “Dug Out” award, given to the lowest scoring entree, with the most creative award this year as his Hot Corner spicy tacos impressed the judges. For the second straight year, Brontsema came out on top as the winner for best presentation. His secret…showing his school spirit by spelling UCSB in red peppers on the side of the dish. Completing a Big West-sweep of the three honors was Lee, who used a family secret recipe for his cajun tacos that garnered him best taste accolades.
As the Big West coaches were celebrating the sweep of the three initial awards, they were quickly silenced when Rodriguez was announced as the “Top Chef” of the event with his delicious spicy chicken alfredo dish.
The most surprising announcement of the day was the recipient of the “Dug Out” and “Kitchen Nightmare” awards. Both honors were handed to Kreuter, last year’s “Top Chef” winner, for his chicken pasta creation. Along with the title of worst chef, he was given a Paula Dean cookbook, bottle of Pepto Bismol, Easy-Bake oven and a fire extinguisher.
“I have now been on both ends of the spectrum,” commented Kreuter. “Sometimes you get knocked down and you just have to get back up and fight. I will be back next year swinging.”