1st Place R&D Win for JWU Culinology Team

JWU culinary nutrition students Lily Mondale, Maria Serrano, Olivia Tripp and Claire Yap with the Asian SeaDog, their winning dish at the 2014 RCA Student Culinology Competition.Big win for JWU’s Culinary Nutrition team: Their Asian Barbeque SeaDog took first place in the 2014 Research Chefs Association’s Student Culinology® Competition in Portland, Ore.

JWU Builds a Reputation in R&D
With 3 1st place RCA wins since 2008, JWU is steadily building a reputation in the field of culinary product development. (The discipline of culinology brings culinary arts and food science together to develop commercial food products.)

JWU students bring culinary creativity and food science experience to the table — a unique skillset that helps secure “great jobs in an industry where food scientists who develop products historically have no culinary training,” notes team advisor Lynn Tripp, associate professor in food science.

The Challenge: Designing a Healthier Hot Dog
How do you spice up school lunch? JWU seniors Olivia Tripp, Claire Yap, Lily Mondale and Maria Serrano decided to redesign the hot dog.

Their Asian Barbeque SeaDog with Sesame-Soy Slaw met the RCA’s parameters to create a:

  • Pacific Northwest-inspired seafood dish designed for grab-and-go portability
  • Low-sodium, nutritionally complete lunch item suitable for a grade-school lunch

Cul 2014 RCA Winning Dish PVD 255 x 182How to Engineer a Winning Dish
The JWU team also submitted an 18-page proposal outlining the exact specifications for engineering their dish, including:

  • Recipe for the Gold Standard (restaurant-quality) version
  • Formula for the commercial product
  • Justification of why they used certain food ingredients to help maintain integrity through freezing and shelf-life
  • Production flow-chart outlining equipment, processing, packaging, costing and nutritional analysis

In the competition, the team had to develop, package and prepare a frozen retail product. The finished recipe was then recreated, to the team’s specifications, as a Gold Standard dish to be judged against the frozen entrée.

Making a Name in Product Development
Of the 17 colleges and universities that entered, only 6 — including JWU, Taylor’s University (Malaysia) and the University of Guelph (Ontario) — scored high enough to compete in Portland.

This is JWU’s sixth entry into the competition, with

  • 3 first place wins (2008, 2010 and 2014)
  • 3 second place wins (2009, 2011 and 2013)

Says Tripp, “What a win means for JWU is notoriety in the Culinology world. And as the research chef field becomes more mainstream, … our students who want to go into product development get jobs!”

Interested in food science? Explore Culinary Nutrition at our Providence and Denver Campuses.