“Taco Tuesday” at OCC student Rose Thompson’s house is where the inspiration came from. Thompson (Westhill HS) and fellow Hospitality Management majors Jesse Midgley (Fayetteville-Manlius HS) and Alexander Moran (Bishop Grimes HS) were in the early stages of preparing to represent OCC in the New York Beef Council and North American Meat Institute’s Veal Recipe Development Competition. “Our plan was to create two recipes, test them with each other and pick our favorites. While I was eating tacos for dinner that night, I knew Mexican was the way I wanted to go,” said Thompson.
Once the students each created two recipes, they came together to decide which they would enter. “We spent three hours testing recipes,” said Midgley. “It was hard only choosing one, but we chose the right one,” added Moran. The group decided to go with Thompson’s creation, Southwest Veal Poblano Pepper Bombs. The mouth-watering ingredients included Chipotle tabasco sauce, cilantro, garlic, salsa, and of course poblano peppers and veal. Once they settled on her recipe, they repeatedly practiced making it and tweaking it until they came with up a product they could all agree upon.
The competition was about more than which team could make the tastiest dish. Students had to submit the recipe with photos and a short video, the story behind how they came up with it, and had to complete a quiz based on a virtual veal farm tour video. “From start to finish it took us about a month to get everything together,” said Thompson.
When it came time for the competition, OCC’s team was ready to go. “I felt very confident,” said Moran. “I had known Jesse and Rose for about a year and we had been great friends. It made the competition a lot of fun with very little stress.”
In late April the students were notified they had earned first place. For their efforts each student received a $500 scholarship. “Winning was the best feeling in the world. Even if we hadn’t have won, the experience was a win by itself,” said Moran. “This was a much-needed break from all of the work going on at the end of the semester. The scholarship money was very much a surprise. I think the three of us competed for the love of food and a little recognition,” added Midgley. “The best part of the whole competition is that our names will forever be a part of OCC in Hospitality management,” concluded Thompson.