Brontsema Wins Award at Annual Baseball Cooking Challenging

Jan. 26, 2011

ANAHEIM, Calif. - The third annual Southern California Baseball Coaches Media Day/ESPN Zone Anaheim Cooking Challenge took place today at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney which featured 11 collegiate coaches.

Showing off their culinary skills from the Big West Conference were Larry Lee (Cal Poly), Matt Curtis (Cal State Northridge), Troy Buckley (Long Beach State), Mike Gillespie (UC Irvine), Doug Smith (UC Riverside) and Bob Brontsema (UC Santa Barbara). Also in attendance were PAC-10 coaches John Savage (UCLA) and Doyle Wilson (USC) and a West Coast Conference trio of Jason Gill (Loyola Marymount), Steve Rodriguez (Pepperdine) and Rich Hill (San Diego). Cal State Fullerton's Dave Serrano was unable to defend his best creativity title due to an illness.

At the annual event, coaches were given a 15-minute time period to prepare an entree and present their creations to a panel of judges. The dishes were graded on presentation, creativity, and most importantly taste. Along with competing for top honors in all three categories, the coveted "top chef" honor was also awarded for the highest overall score.

The coaches were evaluated by a panel of judges, including Brett Barnes, general manager of Duke's Huntington Beach; Rick Mielke, broadcaster; Nancy Milby, Founder and CEO of Laguna Culinary Arts, Inc.; and Marcia Smith, a sports columnist for the Orange County Register.

This year's theme brought the coaches to the ballpark with the slider version of the cookoff. The main ingredients at the coaches' disposal included pork, chicken, hamburgers, cheeses, sauces and condiments. This was definitely a curve ball for the coaches after the previous two events offered up ingredients such as rice, pasta, chicken, shrimp and vegetables.

UCLA's skipper walked away with the best presentation award with his Filet de Gillespie sliders. Savage wowed the judges with his plating, while using the name of his masterpiece as a tribute to UC Irvine's coach Mike Gillespie.

Hill went away from the norm and did a low-carb slider, called the San Diego Paleo slider. Using inspiration from the Paleo Diet, he made a healthy version of the slider by eliminating the bun. His non-traditional approach earned him the best creativity award.

UC Santa Barbara's Brontsema was unsuccessful at a three-peat in the best presentation category but instead captured the best taste honor with his Ole Special. Brontsema said his key to success was "keeping it simple by just adding minimal spices and sauce."

"I was tired of being just a pretty face after winning best presentation," Brontsema said, jokingly. "I wanted to show that I had a little more substance."

Walking away with the top award of the day for the second straight year, the top chef award, was Rodriguez with his Malibu Mudsliders. The winning masterpiece was a cajun burger topped with sauteed mushrooms, onions and peppers and blue cheese crumble. The four-person panel of judges was genuinely impressed with Rodriguez' cooking skills with one of them stating afterward that it was clear he, "cooks with love."

Wilson, who was filling in for USC head coach Frank Cruz, picked up the second straight kitchen nightmare award for the Trojans. Wilson, who dubbed his sliders the No Good sliders, didn't seem to confident with his cooking abilities and it seems the judge concurred. For his lack of cooking skills, he was awarded a fire extinguisher, a cook book and some freeze-dried food.

This weekend the Gauchos will bring back several notable baseball alums during its annual alumni gala. Expected to be in attendance are Skip Schumaker (St. Louis Cardinals), Ryan Spilborghs (Colorado Rockies), Chris Valaika (Cincinnati Reds), Virgil Vasquez (Los Angeles Angels) and many others. Click here to find out more and how to be a part of it!

The alumni weekend festivities begin on Friday night with UCSB's dinner, "A Night With an Angel" featuring Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Only a small amount of seats remain for the exclusive event, so please contact Christina Baglas at (805) 893-5372 or by email at christina.baglas@athletics.ucsb.edu.

The Gauchos open the season on Friday, Feb. 18 with a home series vs. LaSalle.

Season tickets are now on sale for one low price!

The best seats at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium will again be reserved for season-ticket holders and any fan purchasing tickets now will receive the new UCSB Sunday hats with each season ticket purchased. The Gaucho Sunday hats, brand new this season, are white with a blue brim and have the UCSB logo in blue with gold outline. Adult prices are just $75 and youth prices are $50 - that's a 75 percent savings over the single-game ticket price!

Also, for the fan who cannot make it to every Friday game or weekday affair, UCSB Athletics is offering a weekend only plan for just $50, which is a 60 percent savings over the single-game price! UCSB staff and faculty can purchase a season seat for $37.50.

Call (805) 893-UCSB or click here to purchase today.

To see the entire 2011 baseball schedule, please click here.