The University of Massachusetts once again has broken a world record this time for the largest stir-fry – weighing in at 4,010 pounds certified.
The previous record was 2,319 pounds set in 2005 by a high school in Klerksdorp, South Africa.
Freddie Hoff from the New York office of the Guinness Book of World Records was there to certify the UMass record and award a plaque to TV Food Network Chef Jet Tila who helped UMass break the record last year for building the world’s longest California roll – 422 feet.
The idea for the world records came from Ken Toong director of auxiliary enterprises.
“It promotes sustainability.” The stir-fry used all local and ingredients, including ingredients from the UMass permaculture garden. And he said he can’t “think of a better way to welcome students back.”
“It’s a great way to kick-off the school year,” said Garett DiStefano, manager of the Berkshire Dining Common, where the preparation took place.
But breaking the record took work – hours and hours of work starting with the building of the 14-foot 2,500-pound stir-fry pan built in North Grafton by All Steel Fabrication, a two-week long process. The wok was then delivered on a flat-bed truck with a state police escort.
Then there was the preparation of all the food. They couldn’t start too far ahead so it began Sunday morning at 6 a.m., DiStefano said. The work continued until midnight with the finishing touches Monday. Trinh Tran who supervised the chopping said her chopping hand was a little numb but she said everyone enjoyed preparing for the challenge.
A crew of about 11 in shifts, chopped 464 pounds of carrots, 343 pounds of broccoli, 216 pounds of pepper, 535 pounds of yellow onions, 208 pounds of bok choy, 50 pounds of garlic plus the chicken. They also had to cut green beans into 3-inch long strips so that “everything can be picked up with chopsticks,” said Chef Anthony Jung.
And he said they didn’t just want to break a record but create a meal that tastes good. Unlike last year, where the temperature prevented diners from being able to eat the California roll, this year the chefs were expecting to serve the stir-fry to more than 3,000. Tents had been set up on the lawn near the Fine Arts Center.
A dozen chefs and dozens more volunteers using rakes and paddles hand-crafted so all would be able to reach into the wok stirred the ingredients to create the stir-fry – a process that took about 40 minutes.