CAI students present a colorful palette of culinary innovations

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The new edition of the unique “Food Innovation Exhibition”, in which the main acting chefs were the students of the Culinary Arts Institute at Varna University of Management, was held today. As part of the module “Innovation and Creativity in Culinary Arts”, students from “Gastronomy and Culinary Arts” and “Hospitality and Culinary Arts” had the task to create their own innovative products as well as develop their implementation in real-world settings. The products had to be unique, not existing for the given market, and also to offer a new experience for all senses. Above all, however, the task of the students was to go through the entire cycle – from the birth of an innovative idea, through planning and implementation, to the introduction of operational production and positioning it as a finished product on the market. In this way, the students had the opportunity to use all the acquired knowledge and skills from their studies at the university and demonstrate that they are ready to succeed in a real-world setting.

In the final practical part of the students’ examination, they prepared individual stands and presented their innovative products to the guests and the module lecturers – Chef Hugues Boutin – Director of the Culinary Arts Institute, Associate Professor Dr. Maya Ivanova – Head of the Tourism Department and Assist. Prof. Irina Petkova – program director of the “Culinary Arts Management” programme for VUM’s strategic academic partner, Cardiff Metropolitan University. External evaluators for the module were the CAI Chef Instructors Chef Kaloyan Kolev and Chef Stanislav Kubarev.

The young chefs impressed not only their lecturers, but also the guest evaluator from Metro Bulgaria, Mrs. Marina Marinova – Manager of “Metro Academy”. As a result of the successful cooperation with the Culinary Arts Institute, “Metro Academy” awarded the most successful products, corresponding to the vision and concept of Metro and actually applicable in the HoReCa sector.

Among the winners were Dimitar Paskov with a unique series of food deodorants “Spice Up” and Anastasia Podolskaya, who presented an extract from pomegranate and Himalayan salt “Pom Himalaya Elixir”. The undisputed winner was Aleksander Shopov with his innovative product, fish jerky, which he presented in two variations – Rainbow trout with honey bourbon and sea bass with teriyaki. A special award was presented to Jose Luis Ordonez Flores, who presented a pickled garlic supplement “Cultivo Lacto Charred” in a Thracian and Latin American version, respectively inspired by the Bulgarian traditions and the cuisine of his native El Salvador. He will have the opportunity to present side by side with the CAI Chef Instructor Kaloyan Kolev in the framework of a culinary demonstration of “Metro Academy” at the upcoming professional forum for higher culinary “Gastronomics 2024”, which will be held in the period February 13-16 2024 at the Inter Expo Center in Sofia.

Some of the other innovative ideas this year were PowerChews (chewing gummy bears for pre-workout), Protein Marshmallows, Boosterka Energy Gum (bubble gum with caffeine), Garbanzo Elegance (Chickpea chocolate Dip), Halvandula (Lavender and spirulina halva), and many others.