JWU Wins 2015 RCA Culinology Competition


JWU’s student culinology team won the grand prize at the Research Chefs Association’s 2015 Student Culinology® Competition, held in New Orleans, La., on March 24-27.

JWU Providence students Charles Dottore, Matthew Davis, Katie Riley and Steven Dominguez wowed the judges with their interpretation of Chef Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans Barbeque Shrimp.

The JWU team was advised by Professor Lynn Tripp, MS, CFS, and Chef Kevin Crawley, with additional input from chefs Erik Goellner, Ray McCue and Russ Zito.

2015 Culinology Challenge
In the past, student teams created their own dishes using parameters furnished by the RCA, which is the leading professional community for food research and development (R & D).

This year was a little different: To level the playing field, each team worked with a single dish. Since this year’s expo was in New Orleans, the RCA chose a Louisiana classic by JWU alumnus Lagasse.

Each team’s challenge was to create two distinct versions of the dish: one, a Gold Standard (or restaurant-ready) interpretation, as well as a commercial version to be prepared and plated (to the team’s specifications) on site by a member of the RCA judging panel.

The judges then compared the commercial version against the freshly made product.

How to Engineer a Recipe
The JWU team submitted a detailed proposal outlining the exact specifications for engineering its dishes, 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
  • Packaging design
  • Detailed instructions for the end user

The JWU team even created a package tagline: “Looking to add a little BAM to your week night?”

What IS Culinology?
The discipline of culinology brings culinary arts and food science together to develop commercial food products.

This is JWU’s seventh entry into the RCA's student competition, with:

  • 4 first place wins (2008, 2010, 2014 and 2015)
  • 3 second place wins (2009, 2011 and 2013)

Seventeen colleges and universities submitted proposals. The six highest scoring teams chosen to complete were:

  • JWU Providence
  • Taylor's University, Malaysia (3 Teams)
  • Southwestern Minnesota State University
  • Niagara College, Toronto, Canada

Learn more about JWU’s Culinary Nutrition program in Providence + Denver.