The first ever “Meatball Mania” will prove that Fairfield students can cook more than just mac n’ cheese.

From 3:00 to 4:30 p.m., the lower level of the Barone Campus Center will host Meatball Mania where five teams, each equipped with three students, will compete to win the title of best meatball on Friday, Feb. 26.

This event is one of two events hosted this Friday as Fairfield alum and current Iron Chef judge and restaurateur Donatella Arpaia ‘93 visits campus.

The second event will be held at 8 p.m. at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. It will be a forum titled “From Undergrad Stag to a Hotshot TV Foodie: How This Iron Chef and Restaurateur Followed Her Dream to Success” in which Arpaia will talk about her life post Fairfield as an attorney-turned-culinary expert and then open the forum to the audience for questions.

Teams from Kostka Hall, the rugby team, the Fairfield University Student Association, the Commuter Club and The Fairfield Mirror will be represented in the Meatball Mania contest.

Freshman Emilise Almanza, a member of team FUSA, said, “On behalf of the FUSA team, we are participating because we are all fans of the Food Network and Iron Chef. We’re really excited to work as a team and impress Donatella with our cooking.”

“We are competitive people and we have some other teammates in the competition, so it will be high energy and a lot of fun,” said Mike Sweetman ‘19, member of the rugby team.

Judging this event alongside Arpaia will be FUSA President Anif McDonald ‘16.

McDonald said, “I am very excited and honored to be judging alongside two very famous Fairfield alumni in this upcoming meatball competition. I think all the contestants will put on their best performances and wow us all with their amazing recipes.”

Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Jim Fitzpatrick ’70 will be the master of ceremonies at the event. Fitzpatrick said, “Usually things like this don’t frazzle me but this event is different. Anytime we can present something to the student body that is a little quirky, or different is important and fun.”

Students are eager to get into the kitchen and start cooking. Sophomore Jamison Wellmen said, “I wanted to do the contest because I like to make and eat food. I also love the Food Network.”

Several people helped organize this event on campus. McDonald said, “What’s truly remarkable is all of the work that Sodexo, Stags TV, Allison Wade, Jenn Anderson and the rest of the marketing team put into making this event possible so I’d like to say a special thank you to them. Truly looking forward to this event and tasting all their food.”

The price of admission to Meatball Mania is free for Fairfield students. At the event, guests can sample Arpaia’s meatball recipe as well as enter for a chance to win gift certificates to local restaurants.

Senior Kelly Camardo is looking forward to the event. “I am so excited to go to the meatball contest mainly because I love meatballs and also because I get to see a very famous chef here on campus,” she said.

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