News Release: Dynamic Duo of Dickerson & Bobb Claim Top Prize in S&D Culinary Challenge

CONCORD, NC – Sometimes, two heads are better than one. Take the case of Damon Dickerson and Mike Bobb, seniors at Johnson & Wales University. Dickerson first considered entering the S&D Culinary Challenge 2013 Extracts Edition by himself but he decided he could use the input of Bobb, with whom he works at the Gallery Restaurant of the Ballantyne Hotel. The result was pure magic as Dickerson and Bobb claimed the top prize of $2,000 on February 19 in a live competition at Hance Auditorium against ten other Johnson & Wales student chefs. Their dish, seared red snapper with fennel and black tea shitake broth, won over the panel of judges.

It marked the third year that S&D Coffee & Tea has hosted the event at Johnson & Wales and the building was packed with onlookers, many of whom are fellow students of the chefs chosen to be in the finals. The event was hosted by Colleen Odegaard, the host of Charlotte Today on WCNC-TV. The premise was that the young chefs create a tasty recipe using S&D Coffee & Tea’s natural coffee or tea extracts. The finalists were fortunate enough to be mentored over a two-day period by Chef Jim Noble, who owns The King’s Kitchen, Noble’s Restaurant and Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen.

“We were so pleased to win,” said Dickerson, who hails from Mount Vernon, NY, and hopes to be a food instructor himself some day. “A competition like this helps kids think outside the box. When we were thinking of using a fish recipe, we decided that a black tea extract would go well with the flavor of fish. And Mike came up with some great ideas to merge with what I had in mind.”

“We chose red snapper because we wanted a fish that would have a high flavor profile and could be served in a nice restaurant,” added Bobb, who is from St. Louis, MO. “I love this competition and think it’s great that many of the same chefs can come back the next year with something even better. I guess you might say that we’re a kind of research and development arm of S&D!”

Kathleen Purvis, the Food Editor of The Charlotte Observer, was one of the judges and was impressed with the work of the competitors.

“These young chefs showed a great appreciation of having a balance of flavors,” Purvis said. “They showed some sophistication and an awareness of global touches. I’m glad that S&D hosts this event, it’s a chance for people in our community to see that they are supporting the local food scene.”

Here is a list of all the winners of the 2013 S&D Culinary Challenge:

Grand Prize Winner

Damon Dickerson and Mike Bobb
Seared Red Snapper with Fennel, Black Tea Shitake Broth

1st Runner-Up, Entree:

Joy Turner (Heath Springs, SC)
Scotch & Coffee

1st Runner-Up, Dessert:

Margo Ackman (Anchorage, AK)
“Cup of Tea” Cake

2nd Runner-Up, Entree:

Joseph Siccardi (Rochester, NY) and Dustin Wigglesworth (Atlantic Beach, FL)
BBQ Pork Belly with Sweet Potato Pasta and Rainbow Chard

2nd Runner-Up, Dessert:

Nikki Daniel (King & Queen, VA)
Caramel Mocha Kiss Cupcakes

Best Demo Presentation:

Margo Ackman

Facebook Fan Favorite:

Chelsea Gough and Marti Kelley
Frozen Coffee Explosion

Headquartered in Concord, NC, S&D Coffee and Tea is the nation’s largest custom coffee roaster and the largest blender of Iced Tea for the Food Services Industry in the United States. In continuous operation since 1927, S&D serves over 80,000 customers through national distribution and direct store delivery. In 2010, S&D added a state-of-the-art Food Innovations and Ingredients production unit which extracts the flavors of coffee, tea and botanicals for use in iced coffee, shakes, iced cream and frozen desserts, energy drinks and other packaged and dispensed products.

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