Angel Alcantar was selected to square off in the National Association of College & University Food Services' competition, which will be held March 2 at Michigan State University. Alcantar, UWSP's executive chef for the past five years, said he's confident about his chances, Stevens Point Journal Media reported.
The competition requires chefs to create their own menus given a specific list of ingredients. They'll be judges based on a broad range of factors including creativity, craftsmanship, portion sizes, flavor and nutritional balance.
Alcantar qualified after submitting a lobster dish. An Arizona native, he incorporated southwest spices to create a jicama and green apple slaw with lobster, a lobster gazpacho and lobster fritters.
"The best of the best compete (in the competition), and chefs are all competitive. We all think that we have the winning dish," he said. "When we found out that the protein of choice is lobster, I said, 'OK, how are other chefs going to use lobster?' and at that point I did my own thing."
While dorm food and college eateries are stereotypically bland, Alcantar said he takes pride in his campus's dining options. He oversees most of the operations, with a staff made up almost entirely of UWSP students, and said he takes special pride in representing UWSP.
"If I can put UWSP as saying, 'Here we are. We just won the nationals in culinary,' it only makes more people want to come here," he said. "I think our food speaks for itself."
The winner of next month's regional competition will earn a chance to compete at the national competition in Baltimore in July.