Friday, February 14, 2020

Company Finds Product Development Partners at CVTC

Midwest Meals offering Culinary students chance to be creative

Article Photo - Company Finds Product Development Partners at CVTC

CVTC Culinary Management student Samantha Bauer of Eau Claire stirs a roux that was to become an ingredient in a soup in the CVTC culinary kitchen. Bauer is one of the students excited about a program partnership with Midwest Meals that could earn her a scholarship.

As Chippewa Valley Technical College was preparing to open its Culinary Management program in the summer of 2018, Daniel Beck, CEO of Midwest Meals in Eau Claire, took notice and considered how the program could help his business.

On Feb. 6, he made his pitch to the CVTC Culinary Management students: Help us develop new menu products, and we’ll repay you with a scholarship. Both instructors and students are excited about the idea.

Midwest Meals provides pre-packaged, ready-to-eat fresh (not frozen) meals for delivery or purchase at its store in Eau Claire’s Eastridge Center. The menu has dozens of options available from signature meals to dairy or gluten-free, as well as custom meals.

The menu, of course, needs to be continuously updated based on what’s selling. That’s where the students come in. They would design a meal to fit into one of the Midwest Meals packages and fitting into its healthy cuisine guidelines. A student who develops a meal that the company decides to offer on its menu earns a scholarship.

“The more ideas the better,” Beck said. “We can tap into multiple mindsets and come up with ideas we may not even think of.”

“This is a great opportunity for you young culinarians to get your name out there,” Kevin Brown, director of the CVTC Culinary Management program, told his students when introducing the plan. “Imagine having your name on their website.”

“There is nothing off the table for menu ideas, but it is quality-driven,” Beck told the group.

Students were excited about the opportunity.

“I think it’s kind of cool to get some of our ideas out there,” said Mitch Clark, a student from Menomonie. “It would be an opportunity for those who want to continue in the career to have their name out there.”

“It’s really exciting,” said Samantha Bauer of Eau Claire. It would be a great opportunity for us to be creative. I know myself I don’t think outside of the box very often.”

Erica Jones, a student from Beloit, was already thinking of what she would like to contribute. “Midwest Meals doesn’t have a lot of vegetarian options, and as I am a vegetarian, I’d like to offer some of my ideas. It’s a diet that’s gaining in popularity.”

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