10:09 AM

Feast at the UST Grill Master Competition to Benefit Pragmatic Studies

Open to the Houston area community!

It’s the doldrums of summer—but not for you! Because you now know about the Grill Master Competition on Friday, June 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the Campus Life Mall at the University of St. Thomas-Houston. You will have a blast, contribute toward a fantastic scholarship fund for Pragmatic Studies, and get your bon appetit on. Tickets go for $10 or $20, depending on your hunger and whether you want to be part of the judging.

As for the cooks—Pragmatic Studies students, under the direction of private Chef Philip McCulloch, will split into five grilling teams: the G Free, Team Star, DK Grillers, Blazing Pyros and Iniciadores de Fuego. All will be wielding their tongs and working with rubs to rib racks.

The student chefs are part of UST’s ever-growing Pragmatic Studies Program. It offers the opportunity to earn an associate degree in applied science to students with learning differences who are too high functioning for vocational programs but need more support than is found in the traditional college curriculum.

Pragmatic Studies Program Chair Dr. Tera Torres explained, “Experiential learning is the process of learning by doing, and in this particular course students engage in tons of activities to that end. They create vision boards, set personal goals, and go out into area communities with first responders.”

What These Student Grill Chefs Need to Know

For several days leading up to the exciting competition, Chef McCulloch will hold workshops for the students to share his love, passion and creativity for cooking.

McCulloch said, “We’re going to start with the basics and move forward from there. So, the students will learn about hot grills and how to work safely with the associated tools. I like to teach about the different woods we’ll be using in the fire and which ones to mix to create incredible flavor. We’ll cover so much, including seasonings they can grow in their backyard, fruits used for curing and caramelizing, and how to pair the entrée with side dishes that can help with digestion.

Student chefs will get an essential taste of working correctly and safely as a team.

What? You’re Not that Hungry?

You’ll no doubt be ravenous when you see and smell the savory chicken, beef, sausage, salmon and vegetables. But there will be abundant entertainment too. Just ask the event planner, Britney Hughes with EZ Event Planning.

“We will have it all,” Hughes said. “Bounce houses, drink and dessert trucks, yard games like inflatable ax throwing, face painting, and a DJ keeping it all energized.”

Companies Making It Possible

Amazing organizations make this fantastic event possible with their generosity. For instance, Chef McCulloch is giving his considerable time and talent; Two additional chefs from Mamacita’s will be on hand to support the students; Lowes is supplying the grill pits; HEB authorized a gift card to cover some supplies; Costco is providing a donation toward the salmon, wood chips and charcoal; And Ben E. Keith is donating all the chicken, sausage, beef, vegetables and produce.

Dr. Torres also said, “The Grill Master Competition is a natural extension of the servant role we are all called to embrace. Students are learning a valuable life skill and serving the community at large at the same time. The learning outcomes associated with this competition are more valuable than anything learned in a traditional classroom. I mean, how much more fun can learning be!”

The larger Houston community is encouraged to attend and enjoy the delicious food, wonderful people and lively entertainment.

Tickets & Parking

Tickets may be purchased at the event or online here. Please be sure to select Annual Scholarships and then Pragmatic Studies Scholarships in the designated drop-down menus.

Grill-fest lovers may park free on the streets around campus or inside the Moran Parking Garage. Garage parking is $10.