News Release: S&D Coffee Announces Winners of S&D Coffee Challenge: Chef’s Select Showdown

CONCORD, N.C.– As part of its continuing support of educating the next generation of American chefs, S&D Coffee, a leading provider of coffee and tea products to the foodservice and hospitality markets, is pleased to announce the winners of its S&D Coffee Challenge: Chef’s Select Showdown. The competition, which featured recipe submissions and cooking demonstrations from 10 finalists selected, was held at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, N.C.

Capitalizing on the growing trend of coffee – brewed, ground roast or extract – as a key recipe ingredient, the competition challenged Johnson & Wales students to create an original food or beverage recipe containing S&D Chef’s Select Premium Dark Roast coffee and submit the recipe through the S&D Coffee Facebook page.

From the more than 70 entries, ten finalists were chosen to prepare their recipes during a live competition on Thursday, February 16 before a panel of culinary expert judges. The panel included Aleigh Acerni, food editor for Charlotte Magazine; Cassie Parsons, executive chef and owner of Harvest Moon Grille; Peter Reinhart, chef and instructor at Johnson & Wales University; Jon Dressler of Dressler’s Restaurants; Tom Matterface, executive chef with The Compass Group; Travis Dale, executive chef at The Point Golf and Country Club; Lori Pearson, executive chef and owner of Savor Café and Catering; and Blair Cannon of Best Impressions Catering, (last year’s S&D Tea Recipe Contest winner).

Executive Chef Michael Deihl, of East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga., worked closely to coach and mentor the culinary students through the process and also served as master of ceremonies for the event.

Dishes were judged based on aroma, appearance, taste, creativity, food costs, simplicity of the recipe, originality of the recipe name and the student’s presentation skills and ability to discuss the dish.

The winners are:

Grand Prize Winner and Chef’s Select Best Presentation Winner
– Suzanne Castelloe for Bacon and Egg Ravioli with Red-eye Carbonara

First runner-up (food)
– Tyler Sangermano for Risottocchino with S&D Duck

First runner-up (beverage)
– Justin Frazer for Vanilla Gingersnap Iced Coffee

Second runner-up (food)
– Emily Hesse and Jeff Harris for Coffee-Doodle-Doo wings

Second runner-up (beverage)
– Mark Vesel and Dominic Towe for Mean Bean Stout

Fans’ favorite (voted by Facebook Fans)
– Emily Hesse and Jeff Harris for Muddy Midnight Cocktail

“At S&D, we pride ourselves on working closely with chefs and foodservice professionals to deliver high-quality products that meet their exacting standards,” said John Buckner, director of marketing, S&D Coffee. “Our culinary competitions provide an excellent medium for educating the next generation of chefs, letting them know what they can expect from good vendors and engaging their excitement for the versatility of coffee on the menu. We’ve received incredibly creative and delicious recipes from these talented students and are thrilled to see them using coffee in such inspired ways.”

The recipe submission process helped teach culinary students to consider how recipes could be developed and sold in a foodservice environment, the optimal foodservice environment for the dish, and how to polish their plating, presentation and ability to discuss their dishes with customers and critics — all critical skills for future chefs.

“My whole experience with the S&D Coffee Challenge: Chef’s Select Showdown has been very rewarding,” said grand prize and best presentation winner Suzanne Castelloe, a garnish degree student at Johnson & Wales University, Charlotte. “Having a chance to be coached by someone like Chef Deihl, learning more about food costs and menu choices, and working to perfect my dish and my presentation skills have really helped better prepare me for my ultimate dream of owning and running my own restaurant someday.”

“As a chef, I understand the importance of developing close working relationships with food vendors to achieve my desired outcomes,” noted Executive Chef Michael Deihl. “I am proud to have an incredible working relationship with S&D Coffee and commend them for their commitment to mentoring and fostering these critical relationships with up-and-coming chefs. Truly, the established culinary community learns from these young competitors, as they do from our years of experience in the field.”

About S&D Coffee

Headquartered in Concord, N.C., and privately held since its founding in 1927, S&D has grown to become the nation’s largest custom coffee roaster and a leading diversified food and beverage company serving the foodservice industry. The company provides coffee, tea, juice, extracts, flavors and ingredients, as well as emerging beverages, such as iced coffees, frappes, smoothies and energy drinks to more than 80,000 customers throughout the country through its extensive national network of approved distributors and traditional route delivery network. For more information on S&D Coffee, please visit or our Facebook page,