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ChoppeD: Big Greenís New Competition

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By Dartmouth
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As if striding over hurdles during track and field competition, or getting past the trolling goalie on the opposing team were not challenging enough for DP2 athletes. Throw them into a strange kitchen with mystery ingredients to prepare an (hopefully) edible dish that’s judged on creativity, presentation, palatability, and nutritional value—the real heat is on!

The second annual ChoppeD event was held at Brace Commons during the interim, offering DP2 athletes the opportunity to hone their food prep skills and sports nutrition knowledge. The defending champs, the Women’s Ice Hockey team, arrived with veteran confidence for their culinary competition against  Men’s Track & Field, and two teams of Women’s Track & Field.

Similar to the reality-based television series, the DP2 ChoppeD teams have access to a pantry and refrigerator stocked with a wide variety of basic ingredients. Each team is challenged to prepare a dish for the three rounds: Breakfast, Lunch/Dinner, and Dessert, and, are presented with several mystery ingredients just before the time clock begins. The DP2 “chef” teams must prepare and plate their dishes for a panel of judges before the time runs out. Beginning with the first of three rounds, the judges decide which DP2 chef team is “chopped,”—eliminated from the competition. By the final dessert round, only two teams remain.

DP2 ChoppeD was the brainchild of Sports Nutritionist, Claudette Peck in 2013, who identified the need to provide athletes remaining on campus during the interim, with stimulating activities outside of practice. Peck works with DP2 throughout the year to help both individuals and teams maximize their physical potential with nutrition support, such as iron screenings and assessing macronutrient balance. Through her nutrition talks, she educates Big Green athletes on pre-event fueling, hydration, fueling for recovery, eating on the road, and more. To that end, a key element of the ChoppeD event requires the athletes to complete a sports nutrition quiz which is factored into the first round score.

As the four DP2 Chef teams began to flex their spatulas, Peck encouraged a level playing field: “Keep in mind that your sportsmanship as athletes needs to stay with you in the kitchen.” Due to the size of the ChoppeD teams, two athletes from each team are chosen among their peers to work together as the actual chefs in the kitchen, while remaining team members are allowed to coach from the opposite side of the butcher block. Friends are welcome to join in the audience to support their DP2 Chef teams.

Mystery ingredients included pomegranate seeds and molasses for breakfast round one; edamame, fresh red pepper, and tuna for lunch/dinner round two; and in the spirit of the interim season, hot cocoa mix and candy canes for dessert round three. In addition to creating a winning dish incorporating these ingredients, the athletes were limited to the use of just one microwave oven between the three teams as the sole cooking source.

“All the dishes were surprisingly creative and delicious,” reported rookie judge Mark Reed, M.D., Director of Dartmouth College Health Services. Donald Brooks, Assistant AD for DP2, and KC Wright, staff nutritionist at Dick’s House, rounded out the judging panel.

For the second year in a row, the Women’s Ice Hockey Team won ChoppeD hands down with a nutrient-dense breakfast consisting of a hearty veggie omelet with a side of molasses-spiked yogurt dressed with pomegranate and nuts. For their lunch/dinner dish, they presented a tuna, edamame and red pepper salad, dressed with a blend of yogurt and mayonnaise that was seasoned with the anti-inflammatory tumeric spice. (Research shows that anti-inflammatory foods can help to reduce pain post exercise.) The winning dessert was a creative cocoa-mint fondue complemented with fresh orange sections, sliced apples, and banana coins for dipping.

In addition to year-long bragging rights, the 2014 DP2 ChoppeD winning team received dinner out for their entire team at a selected Hanover restaurant of their choice. It’s not too early to consider the competition already lining up for December’s 2015 ChoppeD event. You may want to sharpen your cooking skills to help fuel your studies, and commit to memory those sports nutrition tips!