Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

October 5, 2012

IHCC student heading to cooking competition in Spain

OTTUMWA — In Europe, appetizers can be as simple as a few high-quality olives on a plate. But when an Iowan goes there for a competition, creativity counts.

Kellie Vetter of Fairfield is studying cooking at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa. Her creative appetizer looks like a mushroom.

The cap is a cheese she shapes and bakes. When you lift the cap, there’s a creamy and extra-thick alfredo sauce. The stem is a thin, hollowed-out parsnip, which is stuffed with the homemade Spanish-style chicken sausage she dreamed up. Along the bottom of the “mushroom” is green moss.

“The moss is actually a traditional Spanish green sauce made with peas, parsley, garlic and wine ... That’s cooked down and mixed with [a starch] that turns the whole thing to a powder,” Vetter said Thursday.

When she sent photos and a description to the audition committee in Spain, they contacted her to request more photos and more explanation.

“That’s when I knew they were interested,” said her instructor, Chef Gordon Rader. “She had them hooked.”

There are only 15 slots available in the international “tapas” competition. Judges received more than 90 applications to compete. Vetter was selected and will represent Ottumwa this November when she, the chef and a chaperone fly to Spain.

Like a lot of “complex” foods, “tapas” started out pretty plain, almost humble. Generous Spanish bartenders would cover (or “top”) a patron’s wine with a piece of bread, perhaps adding a slice of flavorful local ham.

Other bars would try to make something even nicer, perhaps a sliced Spanish potato omelet. As competition heated up, tapas became their own course, with bars becoming famous for one plate or another. Some American towns now have establishments devoted to the small-plate foods.

Patrons order one as an appetizer, or a couple with cocktails or even several to make a meal. There’s now a foodie version of a “pub crawl,” ordering one specialty in every tapas bar on the street.

“I like food. I love challenges,” said Vetter. “And Chef encourages us when it comes to ‘playing with our food,’ so I chased it.”

She researched the flavors popular in the region they are going to, and incorporated those spices into her dish.

“That flavor profile, she nailed it,” said Rader.

As a single mom, she said, this was one of the few ways she saw to travel abroad. It’s something she really wanted to do.

“My kids think this is great,” she said, “although my little one thinks he should get to go, too. But really, they’re proud of me.”

 She’ll spend a little over a week traveling with two days devoted to the competition. The other days will focus on food, too.

“There are a lot of educational opportunities: wineries, cheese making, wonderful restaurants. There’s a professional competition (after ours) that we’ll get to watch, too.”

In the meantime, Vetter is practicing. And still making adjustments. She was originally going to use a piece of bark as a plate. Thursday, she said she’s developing an edible “bark” as the base.

And in case they don’t have the perfect plates over there, she’s packing her own. In fact, she told the chef, she’s packing 10 in case of breakage.

“I like the way she thinks,” said Rader.

1
Text Only
CNHI/Southeast Iowa
  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • 0729 OTT Picture veteran -T -M Veteran finally receives his medals OTTUMWA — A World War II injury may have saved the life of a U.S. Coast Guardsman from Iowa, but he lost friends and a box of military awards. Francis Hardy Harbour was born on Dec.16, 1919, in Drakesville. He joined the Coast Guard in 1941 as a mach

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Featured Ads
Poll

The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
     View Results
Iowegian on Facebook