Johnson & Wales University’s first Food Entrepreneur in Residence, acclaimed Food Network star Tyler Florence, is bringing nearly 25 years of culinary, business and media expertise to the table for a Shark Tank-style competition.

At JWU, food is a framework for exploring systemic change. With Tyler Florence at the helm, the Future Food All-Stars Challenge is powering the entrepreneurial spirit of nine student teams to transform the future of food. Nurturing ideas and passions, the competition – which kicked off this fall – will culminate in a live business battle on December 1, 2021. After months of business model construction and product development, the final three teams are set to pitch their ideas to a room of investors. The winning team takes all: $10,000!

Meet Tyler

Twenty-four-year Food Network veteran Tyler Florence, a 1994 graduate of JWU’s former Charleston, South Carolina campus, has captivated millions of viewers on numerous hit shows including The Great Food Truck Race. His limitless quest for what’s current and interesting in the food and lifestyle space among others has always positioned him at the forefront of new trends.

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© Johnson & Wales University 2021. All rights reserved. Photographer: Michael Cohea

Meet the All-Stars

Cindy Campos ’23 | Osterville, Massachusetts

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BLING is a sophisticated non-alcoholic base that can be turned into a spritzer with the addition of soda water and/or fruit juice, or can become a cocktail by adding the spirit of your choice.

“I want to make a drink that would appeal to the masses and not just for taste but also for health benefits. A new generation of cocktail/mocktails for the new generation.”

Maya Alderman ’23 | Seattle, Washington
Jessica Hess ’23 | Grand Rapids, Michigan
Asia Vo ’23 | Austin, Texas

Chill Out Hot Sauce brings capsaicin and CBD (cannabidiol) together to create a unique flavoring agent that works to aid both physical and mental health.

“We want to create an innovative take on CBD-consumption that was not only easily accessible, but also straight-forward…and what better way to do that than with a line of funky hot sauces?”

Keiana Coleman ’23 | Edison, New Jersey
Delila Torres ’22 | Jersey City, New Jersey

Sustainable Soul is a food truck focused on offering fresh, from-scratch menu items highlighting local ingredients and/or food items that have been rescued from the waste stream.

“We want to make a change in our community when it comes to knowledge of fresh/local ingredients, being sustainable and helping people be able to access those things, such as those who are low income and suffer in food deserts.”

Julianne Surrette ’21 | East Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Kayce Jernagan ’22 | Williamsport, Indiana

Sunflower Kids will produce and ship pre-packaged nutrient-dense, tasty meals that provide all the essential nutrients for school-aged children.

“We want kids and young adults to be able to achieve their fullest potential and thought this would be a great opportunity to offer a solution and practice the skills we have learned the last three years in a competitive but educational setting.”

Skylar Flynn ’22 | Wilmington, Illinois

Power Pudding is a range of superfood-packed puddings designed to provide calcium, potassium, and other essential nutrients to seniors.

“My family has always inspired me to pursue my dreams and continue to reach new heights! This challenge allows me to tap into my creative side and pursue a dream of having an impact on the food system.”

Red Acker ’22 | Albany, New York

DoubleTake aims to create convenient meal packs out of items — be they produce or proteins — that might be unsaleable due to bruising, erratic sizing, or other imperfections.

“I find the thought of creating a product from two markets that already have large followings a challenge that I look forward to taking on. I’m also looking forward to creating a product that will be sustainable and reduce overall food waste, and hopefully lead others to as well.”

Elle Raviv-Garbi ’23 | Miami, Florida

UMAMI Foods provides products that are sustainable in a time of environmental crisis. These plant-based alternatives are an affordable, delicious alternative to anyone shying away from animal products.

“My ultimate objective is to have plant-based alternatives to traditional animal products such as steak, eggs, fish, and cheese, look and taste like the real deal.”

Zacharie Curry ’23 | Beverly, Massachusetts

Grub-N-Grind is a food/entertainment concept combining an indoor skate park with a fast-casual restaurant. The menu is classic American fare, as well as plant-based alternatives.

“I want to make a difference in the community as a whole, ever since I was a kid I knew that whatever I decided to do in the future it would include helping people.”

Naomi Torres ’23 | Media, Pennsylvania

Before It Melts is a new non-dairy, allergen-friendly ice cream truck designed to be inclusive and sustainable.

“I’m going to use my culinary science and baking & pastry skills to create fun new flavors and treats that will replicate the same characteristic of “normal” kinds we enjoy every day.”

© Johnson & Wales University 2021. All rights reserved. Photographer: Michael Cohea

Learn more about Johnson & Wales and the University’s Future Food All-Stars Challenge.