S&D Coffee & Tea, the largest coffee and tea manufacturer and supplier to restaurants and convenience stores in America, is hosting its highly competitive annual Culinary Challenge at Johnson & Wales University Charlotte. The award for this year’s winner has increased to $10,000—doubling last year’s top prize―in addition to increases for the second and third-place prizes. This year’s competition theme is “Show your Foodways with a Cold Brew Twist,” which challenges students to create a Southern recipe using cold brew coffee as the key ingredient. Students were invited to submit original recipes using S&D‘s Toddy cold brew coffee.
Twenty submissions will make it through the first round of judging. These students will go on to compete in the Culinary Challenge Semifinals Taste Test, held Jan. 26 at the university.
“The 2018 S&D Culinary Challenge’s focus on foodways provides a great way for students to explore the Southern food culture through recipe development, demonstration and storytelling,” says Helen Griffith, director of marketing at S&D. “Additionally, cold brew coffee has become a mainstay on restaurant beverage menus, but it also has applications as an ingredient in appetizers, entrees and desserts. We are excited to see how this year’s contestants incorporate cold brew in innovative ways.”
The 10 hand-selected students or student duos who pass the semifinals will be paired with a mentor, who will help them prepare for the final event on Feb. 20 in the Hance Auditorium on the JWU campus. There, in front of an all-star panel of judges as well as students, faculty and other supporters, the finalists will prepare their dishes and make formal presentations—much like popular reality TV cooking competitions. The top student chef chosen that afternoon will win the $10,000 grand prize, while second place will earn $4,000 and third place will receive $1,500.
“The S&D Culinary Challenge has become a highly anticipated event for our students, giving them the opportunity to showcase their creativity and culinary skills,” says Tarun Malik, EdD, Charlotte Campus president. “Our partnership with S&D brings numerous benefits to our school, and we are thankful they continue to invest in our students, our community and the culinary industry as a whole.”