Engaging students in RRC Polytech’s culinary research and innovation initiatives to develop new recipes has been a priority for us since the early days. Recipes are the foundation of all consumer product prototypes. Bringing students into the recipe development process gives them crucial hands-on experience, while industry partners benefit from our students’ expertise and creativity. Our tag line, Great ideas start in the kitchen, reflects the spark that science, innovation, and education can strike when brought together in one place. This competition event was one of the first opportunities to showcase what makes our approach valuable and unique.
The students faced off against a pair of culinary students from Assiniboine Community College on March 19 – Agriculture Awareness Day – in the Golden Boy Dining Room of the Manitoba Legislative Building. The theme of the competition was Innovation by Protein. One student from each school was challenged to create an appetizer featuring bison. The other students were challenged to create an appetizer featuring peas.
The students prepared in advance one full, plated, and displayed serving of their appetizer along with 130 samples. At the event, each student pitched their appetizer to a panel of judges, then answered one question from the emcee before the samples were distributed. Attendees voted on the best appetizer and the winner was one of our students, Peter Matkowski, who took first place for his Bison Meatballs appetizer. Our second student, Anna Borys, used the Pea Tempeh she developed for another project for her Tempeh Nachos recipe.
RRC Polytech students competed again in early 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic prevented us from participating in later iterations of this competition. At least a couple tasty recipes were preserved from the event.