by Ian McNulty
New Orleans chef John Besh has made some high-stakes appearances as a contestant on competitive TV cooking shows, where victory means even more publicity. But on Thursday, he'll be wearing the judge's hat for a different sort of competition involving amateur cooks battling it out for nothing more than bragging rights around campus.
Besh and Loyola University executive chef Marc Main will judge the 2009 Iron Chef competition presented by the Loyola Asian Student Organization, which begins at 7 p.m. in the Danna Student Centers St. Charles Room, on Loyolas main campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Competitors this year include teams from the Loyola Asian Student Organization, the Loyola Black Student Union, the Loyola Muslim Student Association and other Asian organizations from Tulane, Xavier and Louisiana State universities. In addition, representatives from the Vietnamese-American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans will also compete for this local Iron Chef title.
The evening includes a silent auction and food available for sale from local Asian restaurants including Hipstix, La Thai, Dong Phuong, China Ruby, Five Happiness and Mikimoto. Proceeds benefit VietHope, a nonprofit supporting education programs for Vietnamese children.