The West Virginia University Erickson Alumni Center’s Executive Chef Scott Spiker enjoys a challenge. Whether he’s creating a unique menu for guests or whipping up one of his famous, award-winning barbecue recipes, Spiker knows how to impress an audience.

So when the opportunity to compete in the Cast Iron Cook-Off presented itself, Spiker started working to gather a team of “amateur” cooks to bring his culinary flair to life. Spiker, his sous chef Justin Wilson and seven WVU alumni and friends will go head-to-head with seven other teams from West Virginia to take home the title of “Overall Cook-Off Grand Champion” on Saturday (Feb. 2) at The Greenbrier Resort.

Each team includes an executive chef, sous chef and eight non-culinary participants. In addition to Spiker and Wilson, The Erickson Alumni Center team includes Lisa Biafore, Gregg Cave, Andy Rowlands, Mark Yozie, Jacques and Janet Williams, all of Morgantown and Melissa Curtis of Harpers Ferry. A high school culinary student assigned by the cook-off organization will also join the team.

“We have developed a unique menu highlighting some great West Virginia products. This is a great opportunity to work with a group who is passionate about cooking and using locally grown/sold products,” Spiker said. “We’re looking forward to coming to participating in the Cast Iron Cook-Off and showcasing the great talents of our team.”

Spiker joined the WVU Alumni Association in July 2008 as executive chef for the Erickson Alumni Center. Since the opening of the facility, he has delighted guests with his creative cuisine and award-winning menus.

Before joining the Alumni Association, Spiker served as the Chef DeCuisine for Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, Pa., where he was responsible for overseeing all aspects of operations including banquet production and catering services, as well as daily, weekly and monthly menu specials. He also worked at various restaurants including Dolfi’s and Mario’s on the Mon in Masontown, Pa., and the Uniontown Country Club. He also served as the corporate chef for The Boston Beanery.

Spiker has more than 25 years of experience in the culinary arts and has received many certifications. His barbecue ribs and chili have earned numerous awards. He previously taught culinary classes at Westmoreland County Community College and has mentored numerous apprentice chefs throughout his career. He also helped to develop the Alumni Association’s popular cooking courses – Barbecue and Cooking universities.

Wilson joined The Erickson Alumni Center in 2010. He placed sixth overall in the 2007 Best Teen Chef competition at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh and graduated from Westmoreland County Community College. He became a certified sous chef in 2009, and completed a 5,000-hour apprenticeship. He was a Chef De Partie and assistant pastry chef at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort for seven and two years, respectively.

The Cast Iron Cook-Off might best be described as West Virginia’s culinary trade fair. Just as Tamarack showcases the artists and artisans of the state, the Cast Iron Cook-Off showcases its culinary talent and attractions. Cook-Off judges have included such national and international culinary celebrities as Dickie Brennan, Fred Raynard, Lee Ann Wong, Farmer Lee Jones and Rod Stoner, winner of the West Virginia Tourism lifetime achievement award. The event draws participants and chefs from around the region.

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CONTACT: Contact: Tara Curtis, WVU Alumni Association

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