News Release: 10 Finalists Chosen for 4th Annual S&D Culinary Challenge

CONCORD, NC – Following a highly competitive semi-final held January 17, the 10 finalists have been chosen for the 4th annual S&D Culinary Challenge at Johnson & Wales University. A packed presentation room of judges, media and interested onlookers watched and tasted samples as 20 contestants battled for the right to be in the finals, which take place on February 18, also on the Johnson & Wales campus.

This year the S&D Culinary Challenge features Johnson & Wales students submitting recipes using S&D coffee and tea extracts in three categories: (1) Donuts, (2) Iced Blended Beverages (Frappé or Smoothie) and (3) Chef’s Choice. The winner of the competition will receive a $2,500 Grand Prize, with seven other entrants receiving cash prizes.

Here is a list of the 10 finalists, with the name of their food entrant, class and hometown:

  1. Beckie Bartlett, New England Morning (donut), junior, Hilton, NY
  2. Thomas Richberg, Tiramisu Donut, freshman, Savannah, GA
  3. Joy Turner, Yay! Beignet, sophomore, Lexington, OH
  4. Gina Yip, Coconut Macaroon Madness (frappé), junior, Leonia, NJ
  5. Ben Wood, Mocha Hazelnut Sachertorte, sophomore, West Chester, PA
  6. Ajsonta Goodwin, Cup of Coffee with Vanilla Cream (cupcake), freshman, Rock Hill, SC
  7. Jason Graffagnino, Five Tea Entrée (salmon and rice dish), junior, Milford, OH
  8. Elizabeth Ren, Glazed Swee “tea” Meatballs with Orange and Tea-Infused Rice, freshman, New York, NY
  9. Mikquell Nell, Angello Sollevato (frappuccino), freshman, Baltimore, MD
  10. Taylor Haupt and Bryant Loungo, A Grizzly’s Delight (salmon) – Haupt is a junior from Edgewood, MD and Loungo is a junior from Glassboro, NJ.


“Watching these young chefs make their presentations and tasting the results was a true pleasure,” said John Buckner, Vice-President for Marketing at S&D Coffee & Tea. “We continue to be impressed by the talent of the competitors and their ability to use S&D extracts in very innovative recipes. S&D is thrilled to be able to sponsor such a wonderful event and now we can’t wait for the February 18 finals.”

Those finals will take place on Tuesday, February 18 in the Hance Auditorium at Johnson & Wales University, 801 W. Trade St. in downtown Charlotte starting at 2 p.m. An all-star panel of judges will watch the finalists prepare their dishes and make formal presentations. Media are invited to attend and the winning chef will be available to do interviews, as will S&D officials. Guests and media should arrive around 1:30 p.m. and park in the Cedar Street Parking Deck located between West Trade Street and 4th Street (116 South Cedar Street, Charlotte, NC 28202).

For more information about S&D Coffee & Tea go to If you wish to attend the 2014 S&D Culinary Challenge Finals, please contact John Dunlap at 704-361-3676.