News Release: S&D Coffee & Tea to Host 5th Annual Culinary Challenge

Johnson & Wales University Charlotte students to compete for cash prizes, top honors.

CHARLOTTE, N.C., January 27, 2015 – Concord-based S&D Coffee and Tea (S&D), the nation’s largest custom coffee roaster for the foodservice industry, is hosting its highly competitive annual Culinary Challenge at Johnson & Wales University (JWU). For the fifth year, culinary students enrolled at school’s Charlotte campus put their skills and knowledge to the test and vie for a spot in competition, which culminates with a live culinary finale Feb. 24.

Students were invited to submit original recipes using S&D coffee and tea extracts, with twenty submissions making it through the first round of judging. Those talented students will go on to compete in the Culinary Challenge’s Semi-Finals Taste Test, to be held Jan. 30 at the university.

“With every competition we continue to be impressed by the talent of these young chefs and their unique and creative approaches to incorporating our products into sophisticated dishes,” said John Buckner, vice president of marketing at S&D. “It’s an honor to continue our partnership with Johnson & Wales University and host this competition for the fifth year. Investing in our industry’s future is necessary and something we take much pride in.”

Recipes that made it to the semi-final round include sophomore Chainey Kuykendall’s Dirty Chai Sticky Buns with Pecans, sophomore Mercy Osei-hwedie’s White Chocolate Macchiato Danish and junior Benjamin Wood’s Tea Marinated Bulgogi with Lemongrass Tea Infused Dashi Rice.

“Johnson & Wales is grateful for everything S&D has done on behalf of our university and for helping us raise the culinary profile in Charlotte since we established this campus a decade ago,” said Tarun Malik, interim president at JWU. “It’s unique opportunities like the Culinary Challenge that truly engage our students and give them the hands-on experience they need to be competitive and successful in the foodservice industry.”

The ten finalists that survive the Taste Test will have the opportunity to be mentored by local chef and restaurateur Jim Noble, owner of The King’s Kitchen and Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen. Those student chefs will then compete at the Culinary Challenge’s live culinary event on Feb. 24, held in Hance Auditorium at Johnson & Wales’ main campus, 801 W. Trade Street in Uptown. The top student chef chosen that evening will receive a $5,000 grand prize, with seven others also receiving cash prizes.

An all-star panel of judges and an auditorium filled with student colleagues will watch the finalists prepare their dishes and make formal presentations, much like reality TV cooking competitions so popular today. For more information on the competition, please visit

About Johnson & Wales
Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University (JWU) is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with approximately 17,000 graduate and undergraduate students at its four campuses in Providence, R.I., North Miami, Fla., Denver, Colo., and Charlotte, N.C. An innovative educational leader, the university offers programs in business, nutrition, health sciences, hospitality, culinary arts, technology and education. Its unique model integrates arts and sciences and industry-focused education with work experience and leadership opportunities, inspiring students to achieve professional success and lifelong personal growth. The university’s impact is global, with alumni from 152 countries pursuing careers worldwide. For more information, please visit