S&D Coffee & Tea (S&D), the largest coffee and tea manufacturer and supplier to restaurants and convenience stores in America, has selected the finalists for its 7th annual Culinary Challenge at Johnson & Wales University Charlotte (JWU).
Students were invited to submit original recipes that incorporate S&D coffee and tea extracts or coffee grounds and meet this year’s theme, “Food Truck Frenzy.” On January 27, a judging panel of Charlotte-based food truck owners participated in a taste test to narrow the pool down from 20 to the top 10.
The 10 finalists vying for the $5,000 grand prize are as follows (name, hometown & original recipe name): Lorenzo Delgado, Kannapolis, NC, “Not Your Average Cup of Joe”
- Ashley Gabrielsen, Sayville, NY, “Doughnut Panic”
- Gillian Howard, Memphis, TN, “Coffee Shwarmas & Ginger Mint Tea”
- Chainey Kuykendall, Mount Airy, NC, “Coffee ScenTEAd Abura Soba”
- Garret Lochner, Florence, SC, & Megan Hoag, Raleigh, NC, “Gulab Jamuns in Cinnamon Coffee Syrup”
- Dustin Marshall, Akron, OH, “S&D Coffee Brined Jerk Chicken Lollipops”
- Olivia Pedroff, St. Petersburg, FL, & Maria Meacher, Virginia Beach, VA, “The Caffeinated Pig by Rollin Gnocchi”
- Francisco Saad, Charlotte, NC, “Coffee & Chili Rub ‘Pick Me Up’ Tacos”
- Brandon Staton, Virginia Beach, VA, “Brandough’s Bao”
- Nicholas Wishart, Hillsboro, OH, “Over the Rhine”
These chefs-in-training will now be paired with one of the food truck owners who will serve as a mentor, helping them prepare to compete at the Culinary Challenge’s live culinary event on February 14, held in the Hance Auditorium on the JWU campus. The top student chef chosen that evening will receive a $5,000 grand prize, and the winner’s food truck mentor will receive a $5,000 donation to the mentor’s charity of choice. Seven other students will also receive cash prizes.