March 6, 2008
Contact: Jessica Wong
MUW student culinology team competes in Seattle
COLUMBUS, Miss. – Mississippi University for Women
students from the
Culinary Arts Institute will compete in the finals
for the Research Chefs Association Student
Culinology Competition for the second year. The
competition will take place in Seattle, Wash., today
The team was chosen last year as one of three
finalists to compete in the inaugural competition in
New Orleans. During the competition, the team
created an entrée onsite, which was then judged
against a frozen entrée they had sent as part of the
initial submission. The team finished second place
in the nation and was awarded $2,500.
Students competing this year are seniors Leslie
Beach, as the team leader, Johnna Emerson, Laura
Farrell and Catherine Bates.
Dr. James Fitzgerald, director of the Culinary Arts
Institute, said, “Well, the research project that
the team did is top shelf. This is a unique and
creative group of scholars. They worked hard and I
am very proud of their accomplishments.”
This year the team’s goal was to create a gourmet
meal for two that would possibly be sold in the
frozen food section of a grocery store. The meal was
to be based on northwestern cuisine and must include
fish or shellfish. The team then had to submit a
proposal with its meal(s) concept, testings, three
technical ingredient uses, a summary of northwestern
cuisine and a nutritional analysis of their product.
The meal must have contained a nutritionally
balanced main dish with appropriate side items
retailing at $9.99.
Beach and her team were picked among two other
finalists to compete in
the final competition in Seattle.
At the finals, the goal is to re-create their dish
in the kitchens while the judges compare it to the
reheated frozen entrees they already sent in to see
if it matches to the gold standard. The gold
standard criterion is an evaluation of the dish made
on-site to be judged against the re-heated product.
Fitzgerald said, "The idea is did we incorporate
enough science and
technology into our dish so that the frozen entree
is as good or as close as possible to the fresh one.
It gives us a measure of precision, accuracy and
consistency in research and development in this
Three cash awards are given out to the teams--$5,000
for first place, $2,500 for second place and $1,500
for third place. The winning team will receive
national recognition through press releases in RCA
news and their website.
Fitzgerald said, “I really am looking forward to
seeing them represent MUW culinary arts with class
in this prestigious competition among some of the
best schools in the U.S.”