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Culinary Students Vie in Culinary Clash

Matt Kirouac

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Michael Jordan's Steakhouse

Michael Jordan's Steakhouse

Throughout the month of February and March, Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse and Le Cordon Bleu Chicago partner for what is essentially the American Idol of culinary school competitions, the Culinary Clash. Said clash marks one of the most elaborate competitions and scholarship efforts to date for Le Cordon Bleu. The multi-tiered event that allows culinary students to vie for a chance to cook alongside Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse’s executive sous chef Craig Couper and have their menu featured at the Mag Mile restaurant.

As students submit menus and recipes through February, three finalists will be selected to cook at the meat-tastic restaurant at some point in March. Students’ meals will be judged by Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell a panel of hotel execs, food writers, local personalities, and guests at the restaurant. There are no losers in this competition, except of course for the ones who don’t proceed to the Ultimate Culinary Clash in San Francisco on May 15. But regardless, participating finalists receive cash prizes for scholarships, so no one walks away empty-handed. The one who wins the whole prize, competing against four other students from across North America, earns additional scholarship cred and their school receives a monetary donation.

For now, submissions from students are judged on relativity to Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse’s style and cuisine. Couper picks out the top six contenders to throw down in a culinary challenge, Top Chef-style. The top three move on to cook at the restaurant, while the runners up serve as sous chefs.

Michael Jordan's Steakhouse
505 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago
(312) 321-8823

Matt Kirouac has been writing about food for publications in Chicago and around the country for several years now.