AMHERST, Mass. – Chefs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have again set a new Guinness World Record, this time by cooking a 6,656-pound seafood stew at a Labor Day barbecue that celebrates the return of students to the campus.
The record stew was the work of a team of culinary experts including celebrity chef Jet Tila of the Food Network, Willie Sng, UMass Amherst’s executive chef, and the award-winning UMass Amherst Dining Services team. They had help from UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy and a small army of student volunteers, administrators and staff.
The seafood stew was prepared in the custom-built, 1-ton, 14-foot frying pan used last year to set the new Guinness Record of 4,010 pounds for the world’s largest stir-fry at UMass Amherst. The cooking area was located on a traffic island on Massachusetts Avenue adjacent to the Haigis Mall. Traffic was rerouted for the huge block party barbecue and cooking event. Once the record was secured, the stew was served to the crowd of students and visitors.
Ken Toong, UMass Amherst’s executive director of auxiliary services and head of dining services, says this year’s record-setting performance continues a tradition. He also notes that it keeps the campus’ gastronomic emphasis on preparing and serving healthy food. “Our goals in setting this Guinness World Record are to support sustainability, to promote healthy eating and regional cuisine and to help build community,” Toong says. “We also wanted to have some fun as we welcome 27,000 students back to school.”
The stew used vegetables from the student-run permaculture garden on campus and from local farmers, Toong says. “In addition, we only used sustainable seafood fromNew England and Alaska, and many other ingredients from New England.”
The recipe called for 145 pounds of bacon, 1,000 pounds of seafood (including mussels, lobster, clams, haddock and salmon), 1,137 pounds of potatoes, 72 pounds of butter, 862 pounds of chicken stock, 72 pounds of flour, 287 pounds of carrots, 575 pounds of onions, 144 pounds of corn, 288 pounds of celery, 72 pounds of turnips, 72pounds of parsnips, 1,725 pounds of half and half, with one pound each of oyster sauce and a salt/pepper/seasoning mix.
Corporate sponsors covered the total cost of the event, says Toong. Among the sponsors are the National Peanut Board, Alaska Seafood Marketing, Lee Kum Kee, Bush’s Best, Kraft, Ecolab, North Coast Seafood, McCormick and Hormel.