The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

Cal Times

The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

Cal Times

The Cal Times student news is a publication of the Student Association Inc. at California University of Pennsylvania

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Steelers Tailgreatness Cook Off Semifinals

PennWest California Student Headed to the Finals
Jonathan Sakaguchi
PennWest California Senior, Jonathan Sakaguchi, at the Steelers Tailgreatness Cook Off

As are many members of the PennWest, California community, I am a diehard Steelers fan. I also love to cook…grilling and BBQs mostly. Off of a whim, I entered the Steelers and Giant Eagle Tailgreatness Cookoff, where the first round was submitting a burger recipe. Not thinking I would get picked, I still sent my recipe in. Prior to the Steelers playing the Baltimore Ravens, I was contacted and informed that I would be one of the contestants. I was quite shocked. Come that Sunday morning, my little brother and I drove into Pittsburgh.

“You don’t look nervous at all,” my brother said through his excitement of going to his first Steelers Game.

“I’m probably not going to win any way bud, but I’m going to go out there and cook as if I was making food for you and the family,” I replied.

After driving around for about 20 minutes, we finally parked and I went and checked in. We went around and enjoyed some of the pregame festivities before the Contest began.

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With an hour on the clock, my two opponents and I started cooking. Looking at it like I would at home, I started with the hardest stuff to the easiest. I started with my grilled onions and bacon, and while those were cooking, I started to mix up my burgers. Before long, I had the burgers on the grill, adding my seasonings, sauces, and cheeses. As it got closer and closer to being finished cooking, I took advantage of the role of bringing my own utensils and pans. I brought my grandmothers cast-iron skillet, which came in very handy.

Everything was almost done, so I started setting up at war station to get everything on the burgers, while the buns were grilling. Once everything was ready, I had a little assembly line. I kind of chuckled as I was the last one to finish plating my dish; however, I had a bit of a panic moment as I looked at my two combatants plates, and noticed that they had garnished their plates. I did not think this through fully, so I had to come up with something on the fly. I have been in barbecue contests before, so I got creative using some of the nicer lettuce I had in my bowl and placed it around and under the burger, took long sandwich pickles, some grilled onions and a strip of bacon and made the best of it.

Before long, it came time for judging, and my heart was in the pit of my stomach. I was the second one to go in for judging. I was feeling the nerves now. What was only five minutes seemed like an eternity, while they totaled up the scores.

From behind the curtain the MC came with the card, holding the name of the winning burger.

“The winner with a score of 80, which is really, really good fans. Your winner is JONATHAN SAKAGUCHI!” He exclaimed.

Meanwhile, I was standing off stage and looking flabbergasted. It took a few minutes for me to realize I had won. In ah and disbelief, I walked out on stage, shook the hands of the judges, and re-joined my little brother before receiving our tickets for that day’s Steelers game.

Now, I wait my fate of the finals. I will be competing in the championship round on Oct. 29 versus the other two semifinal winners, where I am going to have to put my best grilling skills to the test. Stay tuned for more folks, as things are starting to heat up in this contest.

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Sakaguchi
Jonathan Sakaguchi, Sports Editor
Jonathan (Jonny) has been a staff writer for the Cal Times for a few years. Jonny, a senior this year, a member of  CUTV and WCAL where he also serves on the E-board for both of them as President and VP for the Times. Jonathan works on a plethora of shows for CUTV including Vulcan Football, Basketball, Baseball, Hockey, and Softball, High School Round Up, Jonny’s Country Kitchen, and his newest project Rolling Through History. WCAL his shows the Evening Express and The Vulcan Post Game Show Jonathan is also a member of the University Choir as the E-board recruiting chair member. In his free time Jonny enjoys photography, video games, model, railroading, also works as an actor at Haunted Hills Estate Scream park and is a pro wrestler for several promotions locally and regional.

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