Alumnus and grad student on Jeopardy!, MasterChef

Alex Trebek set ’em up and U of G alumnus Jordan Nussbaum kept knocking them down during his recent one-day reign as champion of the popular television game show Jeopardy!

And U of G mathematics graduate student Michael Griffiths showed he had the right formula to excite the sophisticated taste buds of judges on the popular CTV television series MasterChef Canada.

Nussbaum, BAS ’12, had a profitable victory in his first Jeopardy! game, banking $15,800. He was on pace for a similar win in his second game, but a big losing gamble in the “Final Jeopardy” round robbed him of the throne. He did take home an additional $2,000.

A lawyer practising civil litigation at the Romano Law Office in Toronto, Nussbaum is a self-proclaimed general trivia buff.

At U of G, he was part of the Guelph Quiz Bowl team and regularly attended trivia night at the Brass Taps. Being a bachelor of arts and sciences student also helped, he says.

“I definitely feel that the broad-based education that I received in the program contributed to my ability to answer questions in a variety of categories, as I was able to take courses from many faculty members and subject areas.”

Griffiths, a master’s student, made the top three on MasterChef Canada, an intensive cooking competition that challenges chefs to be well-rounded and brilliant in the culinary arts and exceptional under pressure. He was chosen from hundreds of cooks from across the country.

There is something mathematical about preparing a recipe, Griffiths says. But he adds that eating, especially in a social setting, is a “total experience” involving family, friends, superb craft and surprising tastes.

Griffiths credits his time at U of G with helping him excel on the TV show. “It taught me discipline, taught me how to learn. My graduate classes tested me to do some of the hardest things I’ve ever done and pushed me to limits I didn’t even know I could achieve.”

While he plans to become a mathematician, he says he’ll keep on cooking. “I don’t see any harm in having more than one love in life.”