The finalists for the 8th annual S&D Culinary Challenge at Johnson & Wales University Charlotte (JWU) have been selected.
Twenty semi-finalists participated in a tasting and presentation competition on Friday, Jan. 26 to narrow the field down to the final 10. In this competition, students were invited to submit original Southern-inspired recipes that incorporate S&D‘s Toddy® cold brew coffee and meet this year’s theme, “Show your Foodways with a Cold Brew Twist.”
S&D Coffee & Tea, a major manufacturer of coffee and tea for the foodservice, convenience and consumer packaged goods industries, doubled this year’s top price from $5,000 to $10,000.
The 10 finalists vying for the $10,000 grand prize are as follows (name, hometown and original recipe name):
Anna Adams, Front Royal, VA, and Kyra Henderson, Hermitage, PA—All in One Breakfast Pick-up paired with Orange Americano Syrup
- Brandon Bailey, Charlotte, NC—The King’s Queen Cake
- Jordan Drummond, Green Bay, WI—Southern Java Tostada
- Kentrell French, Sanford, NC—Coffee Kombucha Float
- Ashley Lunceford, Spring Hill, TN—Pomegranate-Coffee Glazed Pork Medallions
- Elena Lundy, Brooklyn, NY—Southern Charm (cornbread cake with caramel sauce)
- Erica Miller, Aiken, SC—Mini Chocolate Coffee Pecan Tarts
- Cherrod Roberts, Jr., Orange, NJ—Cold Brew Chicken Biscuit
- Sarah Rountree, Westport, CT—Cold Brew Coffee and Ancho Chile Braised Short Ribs with Coffee Infused Carrots, Pearl Onions, and Creamy Cheese Grits
Emily Williams, Fort Mill, SC—Coffee by the Pound
These chefs-in-training will now be paired with chefs and restauranteurs who will serve as mentors, helping them prepare to compete at the Culinary Challenge’s live final event on Feb. 20, held in the Hance Auditorium on the JWU campus with Jon Wilson of WCCB’s “Wilson’s World” serving as emcee. 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.
“From creative savory dishes to delicious pastries and desserts, we were impressed with the student chefs’ culinary innovation, presentation and plating skills and their ability to tell their stories through the food they shared,” said Helen Griffith, director of marketing at S&D. “We’re excited to see the final presentations on Feb. 20th and know the judges will have a difficult task in selecting the winner.”
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