COLUMBIA — Jeremy Elmore had just a few minutes before the buzzer would go off when suddenly both of his burners went out.
The MU Campus Dining Services sous chef was cooking a dish of duck, carrots and spinach gnocchi parisienne at the National Association of College and University Food Services Midwest Regional contest in the spring.
“I actually lost power,” Elmore said. “No one really knew what was going on at the time.”
But Elmore was unfazed.
“Just give me one burner and we’ll finish it up,” Elmore remembered saying to the judges.
Elmore ended the competition, which was held at the MU Student Center, in first place, earning a rarely awarded gold medal. He competes July 11 in Minneapolis against five other regional winners.
“I was extremely overwhelmed with joy and excitement,” Elmore said. “I didn’t know what to do really, rather than jump up and cheer.”
Three years ago, Elmore competed in the same regional competition in Milwaukee, finishing with a bronze.
“The need to compete again and do better was right there,” Elmore said.
The nine competitors were required to use duck as the main ingredient and include sides that would serve as nutritional complements. They were also judged on knife cutting and overall technique.
Elmore earned 36.5 out of 40 possible points. Gold medals are only awarded to competitors that score from 36 to 40 points.
“It was just rewarding to hear my name called and even hear that I won a gold medal, which is really hard to achieve in these competitions,” Elmore said.
At the national competition, Elmore will prepare the same dish that won him the gold in April. Leading up to the competition, he will practice the complete dish at least once a week.
“If anything arises during the competition, I’ve already practiced it 10 to 15 times each,” he said.
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