Two teams of University of Guelph students have won first and second place in international food development competitions.
Food science students Colin Booth, Yinglei Li, Brittany Chow and Monica Chau won the Research Chefs Association Student National Pastry Culinology Competition held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in March.
Students Myra Siddiqi, Natalie Ng, Rachel Tseng and Rodeth Asis placed second in the National Savoury Culinology Competition held the same weekend.
For both competitions, students had to develop a frozen-microwaveable product featuring Puerto Rican cuisine, which would resemble a dessert served in an upscale restaurant.
The students’ winning pastry entry was a guava bizcocho (tart) with rum ice cream and roasted pineapple sauce.
“The dessert we developed was a novel idea that isn’t found in the market currently,” said team leader Colin Booth. “The judges were all blown away with our product and found the idea unique and interesting.”
By incorporating microwave packaging technology, the microwaved tart was warm and crispy, as if freshly baked from an oven.
The second-place savoury entry was a sausage criolla and mofongo dumpling dish, which highlighted Puerto Rican cuisine with some modern innovative twists.
It featured a contemporary morcilla turkey sausage darkened with activated coconut charcoal, dumplings dressed in a creamy coconut cilantro mojo sauce and a roasted tropical salsa featuring pineapples, jackfruit and red peppers with mint, honey and ginger.
Both teams worked for months to develop their concepts and submitted a written proposal detailing their product concept, target market, financial breakdown and commercialization process. The students consulted faculty advisers in the Department of Food Science as well as alumni and industry professionals.
In the two-phase competition, the top four written proposals, submitted from schools around the world, were invited to the on-site competition.
“It was just an amazing opportunity to network with food industry professionals and fellow students,” said Myra Siddiqi, team leader for the savory team.