AMHERST, Mass. - Armed with a custom-built, one-ton, 14-foot frying pan, Dining Services chefs from the University of Massachusetts Amherst led by celebrity chef Jet Tila have cooked up the world’s largest stir-fry of 4,010 pounds of vegetables and chicken. Cooking outside on the Haigis Mall on the Amherst campus this afternoon, the culinary team smashed the previous world record of a 2,319-pound stir fry set in 2005 by a high school in Klerksdorp, South Africa.
The event is part of the back-to-school events at UMass Amherst during the Labor Day weekend that will see 27,000 students arrive for the fall semester.
"Our goal was to do more than just set a new world record," says Ken Toong, executive director of Auxiliary Enterprises at UMass Amherst, shown above. "We did it while also supporting sustainability and promoting healthy eating as we welcome our students back to school." Toong says the UMass cooking team used fresh vegetables from a student-run farm, the permaculture garden on campus and local farmers. In addition, they used canola oil with zero grams trans-fat.
And once it was clear the new record had been achieved, Toong says, the stir-fry was offered up to the crowd of students and guests at the event. Much of it was also transported to dining halls across campus to be served for dinner Monday night.
The record challenge was fully underwritten by donations from corporate sponsors, including Kikkoman, the National Peanut Board, McCormick, Kraft Foods, Dole, Bush’s Best, Performance Foodservice, Coca Cola, Bunge, Barilla, FreshPoint, Tyson, Hormel Foods, Green Mountain Gringo, Campbell’s and Texas Pete.
The cooking was led by Jet Tila of the Food Network, along with UMass Amherst executive chef Willie Sng and Dining Services chefs, aided by hundreds of volunteers. The chefs and guest stirrers used specially built rakes to move the food in the pan.
The recipe called for 800 pounds of chicken, 400 pounds of carrots, 300 pounds of broccoli, 200 pounds of peppers, 200 pounds of green beans, 200 pounds of bok choy, 200 pounds of root vegetables, 500 pounds of onions and 200 pounds of peanuts plus smaller amounts of basil and garlic, cooked in 50 pounds of oil and topped with 200 pounds of Kikkoman sauce.
The 2,500-pound stir-fry pan was built in North Grafton by All Steel Fabrication with the drawings and design by Scott A. Civjan, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at UMass Amherst.
A representative from Guinness World Records was on hand to certify the new record.