Kayla Foster, a senior at UW majoring in Meat Science and Food Technology, recently attended the annual American Meat Science Association (AMSA) Reciprocal Meat Conference (RMC) in Auburn, Alabama. While there, she participated in the student iron chef competition and her team was awarded the 2013 Iron Chef People’s Choice Award with their creation “Bama Slammas”. RMC is held annually and is an interactive program which is tailored to bring meat scientists, students and industry together for educational experiences. This year’s RMC was attended by more than 600 people.
10 Teams were formed after all the participants had signed up for the competition. Foster’s team comprised 10 students representing 9 different land grant universities. Foster stated, “I was the only undergraduate on the team but I knew most of them from being on the meat judging team last year.”
Once the teams were formed, they were provided with a specific protein source that they must use. Foster’s team was assigned 100 pounds of Boston butt pork shoulder. After that, team members came up with ideas for different food products utilizing their provided protein source. “There were a couple of ideas that were put forth by team members, but my idea was to try the pork on a glazed doughnut,” said Foster. “The team liked the idea and we decided to call them Bama Slammas.”
The teams had about 2 hours to get to know each other on Friday night. Then, on Saturday, they participated in a couple of processed meats workshop before having about 6 hours to prepare their item for tasting by 300 people.
“On Saturday, we pumped the meat with a brine solution and then rubbed it with a mixture of spices that we created. After it was smoked, we placed it on fresh glazed doughnuts with pepper jack cheese and jalapeno jelly” said Foster. All the teams served their creations at the welcome reception and people were allowed to vote for their favorite one. The winning team was announced on Wednesday morning opening session.
“I enjoy cooking and I won the Iron Chef competition that the Food Science Club put on here at UW, so I thought this would be another great experience to try at a national level,” said Foster. “It was a great opportunity to meet new people and have fun.” Foster, a native of Cheyenne, WY, will graduate in May 2014 and hopes to continue to be involved in the meat industry, either by going to graduate school or by obtaining a job in the field.