Central Ohio is rich with signature food products developed locally, but recognized regionally and nationally. The Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT), Ohio Department of Development and the Central Ohio Restaurant Association, sponsored the first-ever Central Ohio Signature Food Contest in December 2010 which showcases many new local products ready to take that next step – actual product development.
Cameron Mitchell, president/founder, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, and David Beck, president and CEO, CIFT, recognized the three winners selected based on their product concepts:
• Liz Corzine of Chillicothe, OH, for her caramel puffcorn – Kernelless popcorn coated with homemade caramel. This product melts in your mouth and is great for small children, the elderly, and everyone in between.
• Tim Picciano of Dublin, OH, for his Irish egg roll – Delicious, large, hand-rolled egg rolls, filled with tender corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut. Delicately deep fried and served with Thousand Island dressing.
• Ann Trudel of Fredericktown, OH, for her Brussels Sprouts gourmet relish – Perfect blend of Brussels Sprouts and peppers in an exciting spicy, hot/sweet marinate with the savory lingering of onion and garlic.
Following a review of written applications and presentations by food entrepreneurs and chefs to a panel of judges, the highest scoring concepts were selected based on the viability of the product, commercialization potential, business strategy, and overall appeal to the marketplace.
As a result of the award, direct consultation and technical assistance from CIFT staff will be provided to the start up businesses ranging from business planning, product/process development, shelf stability testing, labeling review, regulatory assistance, and batch product preparations for sampling. Later, production will begin at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK), a nonprofit commercial facility that educates and advises new and growing businesses, and provides access to a commercially-licensed kitchen.