BA Culinary Arts students showcase new food products
Best Product ‘Havacodo’ (vegan avocado based chocolate snack) created by John Nelan
Date Article Written:
Thursday, May 3, 2018
A selection of unique food products created by third year BA Culinary Arts students in GMIT were showcased in the Galway International Hotel School recently with student John Nelan receiving Best Product for his ‘Havacodo’, an avocado-based vegan chocolate snack consisting of cacao, dates and cashews.
Assessing the viability of the food products were Edward O'Neill, Teagasc, Michael Flynn, Musgraves, Breda Fox, Galway Local Enterprise Office, Tony O'Kelly, GMIT Innovation Hub, Robert Rosbotham, GMIT graduate and Culinary Olympics Chef, and Richard Nielsen, Food Product Development lecturer. Local food producers Diarmuid Kelly (Kelly Oysters), Liam Heneghan (Tribal Foods) and Aidan Murphy (Galway Hooker Brewery) were also invited to the showcase to share their expertise and critique the student’s food products.
The students exhibiting their new products were Shane Austin, Connor Doolan, Dymphna Killeen, Padraig Naughton, Sharon Fleming, Eoin McBride, Barry Reilly, John Nelan and Cathriona Walsh. They are all studying part-time while working as chefs in local restaurants, bars and delis such as Kai Restaurant, Galway Bay Hotel, Renvyle House, Glenlo Abbey, An Púcán, The Front Door, Food for Thought, and Corrib Deli.
Lecturer and event organiser Richard Nielsen, says “the showcase is the culmination of the students’ Food Product Development module in which they create a new food product based on market trends, from concept to launch. They merchandise and display their products in a simulated trade show and give a two-minute sales pitch to representatives from the industry in a Dragons Den style format. Engaging with the attendees and pitching their product is as vital as the quality of the product itself. The industry representatives were very keen to support the students with suggestions on how to enhance their products, packaging and shelf life”.
Summarising the showcase, the assessing ‘Dragons’ said “the standard was exceptional which made it very difficult to choose only one favourite”. Overall, the students exhibited a “very high level of innovation and merchandising”. Ideas for the products were “well researched and on-trend, with good product market fit”. Presenting their products, the students were “very knowledgeable, informed and well prepared for questions and answers.”
“The event drew steady streams of staff and students all day, sampling and commenting on the products and providing much valued feedback. The students first conducted research on the current general food trends in Ireland and the lifestyle trends of the millennial customer. Many of their products combine the consumer trend towards health and wellbeing and the busy lifestyle consumer, offering healthy, flavourful, convenient food solutions to fit into people’s busy lives.
One of standout products was the winning avocado, dates and cocoa snack suitable for vegetarians. Other standout products with the Dragons was a cauliflower and buckwheat cracker accompanied within a segmented package with a fermented beetroot dip, and an easy to prepare healthy, gluten free, ready to bake cookie, which they described as “a great way to get families to bake tighter and to introduce healthy snack alternatives to children.”
Popular with tasters was Shane Austin’s “Toatally Yoghurt” a bio-live oat milk yoghurt packaged with a vegan granola; a healthy on the go breakfast snack, combining the health qualities of chick peas with black pudding; and a product consisted of a trio of healthy light crackers made from an avocado base with flavoured with turmeric, beetroot and basil.
A new feature this year was that the students’ product ideas were developed into business plans by students studying Creativity and Innovation under the direction of lecturer Ivan McPhillips,. The business plans were submitted to the National Student Entrepreneur Awards, of which one was chosen for the semi-finals.”
For more information on the new part time honours degree in culinary arts please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Culinary Arts degree students (part-time), L to R: Eoin McBride, Galway city; Shane Austin, Galway city; Conor Doolan, Roscommon; Dymphna Killeen, Claremorris,; Padraig Naughton, An Spideal; Sharon Fleming, Athenry; Barry Reilly, Galway city; John Nelan, Galway city; Cathriona Walsh, Renvyle.