Geneseo wins big in chef face-off against Brockport

The World Series wasn't the only incredible contest of skill last week.

On Nov. 5, Geneseo's executive chef Jonna Anne went head-to-head with SUNY Brockport executive chef Joe Buttons. For two hours, they battled in Mary Jemison dining hall for patrons' votes.

Macaroni and cheese was the day's weapon of choice. Anne brought to the table her Knight's Pride variation of the classic dish, while Buttons was armed with his "RaCha" version, using all local ingredients. Both sides had vegetarian and gluten-free options as well.

After testing the samples, customers dropped a glass bead into either the Geneseo or the Brockport bowl. Both chefs had various awards and credentials on display next to their workstations, to assure testers their pasta was prepared by professional hands.

Both chefs have multiple National Association of College and University Food Services awards and are certified by the American Culinary Federation. As for personal strengths, Anne graduated from the Ecole des Arts Culinaires et de l'Hotellerie, de Lyon in France. Buttons, on the other hand, comes from a tradition of excellence - Brockport was rated by students as being No. 1 in SUNY food service since 1994, according to the Brockport College Web site.

Despite impressive credentials, at the end of the day it was up to the voters. At the bell, Geneseo came out on top. Both chefs were good sports.

"It's just a chance to have fun and build school spirit," Anne said, while Buttons announced, "Remember, a vote for the Brockport side is a vote for lower tuition!"

Junior Derek Weng was torn between the two. "I like Brockport more," he said, but stated that Geneseo offered the "pleasure of eating a home-cooked meal."

In the end, Geneseo pride won him over and he cast his vote for Anne. Brockport will have an opportunity for vengeance at the end of November, when Anne takes on Buttons for a second time, this time on his turf.