Last week, Amherst hosted the annual Iron Chef competition in Valentine. I, along with three of my amazingly talented track teammates, had the chance to compete. The competition consisted of six teams of four who had been chosen at random from the many who entered. The competition grants each team one hour to prepare three courses to present to the panel of judges, who then sample and rate each dish. The team with the greatest overall score determines which team wins the grand prize.

My favorite pieces of equipment at Val (besides the smoothie blenders) are found at the stir-fry station. This station opens up a whole window of opportunity, freedom and independence when it comes to your dinner choice. Learning how to control the temperature on the induction burners is crucial when it comes to cooking a non-burnt meal, so be weary of those little blinking lights. Here are a couple of my favorite pasta dishes that will hold you over until it’s vodka sauce night.

With spring break rapidly approaching and your workload undesirably mounting until the end of the year, it is crucial for you to get in the most important meal of the day: breakfast. The only way to balance those metabolism-defeating all-nighters is by consuming a nutritiously balanced breakfast. Below are a few recipes to spruce up your mornings and give you energy to keep up all your groundbreaking discoveries (or your history paper).

Southwestern Breakfast Burrito

After a semester-long hiatus, your favorite tips and tricks for eating at Val are back! This week’s theme is sandwiches. Of course, sandwiches are a staple food item during lunchtime because they’re relatively easy to make and are very portable. The only thing that makes the convenient lunch better is making it hot — and that’s where the panini comes into play. While I’m sure all students have traveled over to the panini press at some point during their time at Amherst, here are some ways to take your ordinary sandwich to the next level.

Mohamed Ramy ’18 confirmed in the September 10 issue of The Student that Val has made significant improvements over the past few years, impressing the incoming freshman class. There are still going to be those meals that we all collectively groan at, though (Yankee Pot Roast, I’m looking at you). I’m here to help you on those days.