Drexel Food Lab Students Compete to Create Winning Dish Using New Dried Vegetable Blend to Combat Food Waste

Students will create dishes using a new flour created from vegetable by-product.
Students will create dishes using a new flour created from vegetable by-product from Baldor Specialty Foods.

Students from the Drexel Food Lab in Drexel University’s Center for Hospitality and Sport Management will be serving up a series of unique dishes before a panel of judges this Friday to see which recipe — all incorporating a new flour created from vegetable by-product — has the most potential appeal to consumers. The contest, sponsored by corporate partner Baldor Specialty Foods, a leading northeast produce distributor, was devised as part of a larger company initiative to combat industry-wide food waste, a program they call SparCs (“scraps” spelled backwards).

“We asked the talented young minds at the Drexel Food Lab to find a tasty way to incorporate this vegetable blend made from excess food trim into mainstream recipes,” said Thomas McQuillan, who heads up the SparCs initiative at Baldor Foods. “We wanted to see how well this vegetable blend works in the test kitchen and what kind of dishes they’d produce.”

Each of the recipes feature the new dried vegetable blend created from food trim: the part of produce that would have traditionally been discarded in the kitchen.  The competing dishes include:

  • A veggie flour biscuit sandwich
  • A veggie flour spaetzle 
  • Blini trio with toppings
  • Carrot cake
  • Vegetable flour rice 
  • Quinoa balls
  • Chili 
  • Powder-based smoothie 

The contest will be held on Friday, February 19, from 9 - 11:30 a.m. in the Drexel Food Lab at the Paul Peck Problem-Solving and Research Building (101 N. 33rd Street). Judges include local chef Keith Taylor of Zachary’s BBQ, Whole Foods Northeast Forager Elly Truesdale and Thomas McQuillan from Baldor Specialty Foods. They will be judging the dishes on taste, visual appeal and use of the vegetable blend. The winning recipe and the two runner-ups will be featured in Baldor’s industry blog Baldor Beet and will receive a gift bag of kitchen supplies. The winning recipe will also be featured and served at the Philly Chef Conference at Drexel on March 6 – 7, 2016.

“The Drexel Food Lab prides itself on solving real-world food problems,” said Jonathan Deutsch, PhD, professor of culinary arts and food science at Drexel, who founded the Food Lab.  “Food waste is a significant global problem; this vegetable blend from Baldor may take us all one step closer to a commercially viable solution.”

In addition to the judging panel, members of the press will be invited to taste the students’ dishes.

The Drexel Food Lab has been working with the veggie blend and other SparCs for the past few months — as well as developing new products made from SparCs — to see how they work in consumer and foodservice applications.

About the Drexel Food Lab
The Drexel Food Lab is an interdisciplinary research group that aims to solve real-world problems in the areas of recipe development, product development and product ideation. Projects focus on the areas of sustainability, health promotion and non-communicable disease prevention to develop affordable, sustainable and healthy food products and recipes. To learn more about the Drexel Food Lab, the team, recipes and the blog, visit http://hsm.drexel.edu/du/foodlab/.

About Baldor Specialty Foods
Baldor Specialty Foods is one of the largest importers and distributors of fresh produce and specialty foods in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Beginning as Balducci’s fruit stand in Greenwich Village in 1946, Baldor maintains its original promise — curate and deliver the best and freshest foods in the world. Baldor seeks to provide great specialty foods and logistics that give their customers an edge. To learn more, visit www.baldorfood.com.