Sparks flying in the Chop Chef kitchen competition

By Anna Carrera

Published 01/31 2014 05:05PM

Updated 01/31 2014 05:48PM

CHAMPAIGN -- Area chefs are putting their celebrity finishing touches on their dishes for a competition Friday night. It's a benefit for the UI women's volleyball team. Even the coach put on an apron for the challenge. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera finds out how they've been getting ready for the contest all day.

They didn't even know what the secret ingredients would be until 7 am. The teams have been working on their three-course masterpieces ever since.

"A tornado came through Meijer."

At least that's what it felt like when the CU Chop Chef Competition kicked off. With just 90-minuted to get all their ingredients, teams started strategizing.

"We've been focusing on trying to make some culinary explosions here and he gives us instant mashed potatoes."

"Instant mashed potatoes! Not sure what we're going to do with instant mashed potatoes."

Potatoes were just one of the nine required ingredients on the list. The rest of the menu was up to the chefs.

"It's a scramble which is great."

Kevin Hambly coaches the UI women's volleyball team, but he says cooking has always been one of his passions.

"I love cooking. For me, it's my stress relief. You get to be creative and you get to think on your toes."

He says there are a lot of lessons you can learn in the kitchen which also work on the court.

"Stay calm and when things are kind of getting hectic, keep your head about you and just think everything through as much as you can."

"It's a lot of fun, cooking with your friends. What could be better?"

Each team is cooking for 150 people so they say they'll use every last minute to make it work.

"We've got to make it happen. That's part of the challenge and that's what's fun."

This is the second year the volleyball team's held the fundraiser to help pay for travel expenses. The teams have to finish by 6 pm.

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