Innovation in Food & Beverage Science
Join FIU’s Chaplin School as we reach toward the next horizon in the area of food and beverage science. Engagement in research and innovation activities will establish the School as a solutions center that addresses the challenges and opportunities that will shape the future of the industry
The mission of the Food & Beverage Science Program is to provide students with the most innovative tools, knowledge, and skills needed to succeed globally in order to become an international epicenter for food and beverage science.
Research in food and beverage science will provide:
- A central repository for innovative tools and knowledge in the areas of food, wine, beer, and spirits
- A hub that connects leading scholars, experts, and professionals throughout the Americas, Asia, and Europe
- Rich opportunities to engage in interdisciplinary research with FIU chemistry, biology, geology, agro-ecology, meteorology, nutrition and health sciences, and medical experts
Current Research Projects
Generous involvement at the corporate level has yielded tremendous benefits to the Chaplin School. In exchange, the School provides organizations with the use of facilities, human resources, and expertise needed to perform product research and development. Additional client support is available.
New International Flavor Profiles and Recipes for Badia Spices
This project will develop new international flavor profiles and recipes for Badia Spices. The project will commence in Fall 2015 and end in Spring 2016. Badia will recognize any new products as a result of this project for future shared revenue. FIU is working to develop up to 10 new recipes for Badia using Badia Spices’ products.
As Bon Appétech’s sole educational partner, the School was part of the judging panel for the Start-up Pitch Competition. The winner, Safe Catch Tuna, received 100 hours of free consulting from the Chaplin School.
Dragon Fruit Innovation
The Chaplin School’s partnership with J & C Tropicals seeks to investigate and recommend nutritional claims for dragon fruit. Using reasonable efforts, FIU will research and develop new uses for dragon fruit in its whole or processed form, including using it on the menus developed by Chaplin School students.
Sustainable Beverage Program
Students at the Chaplin School are conducting research on sustainable beverage options for Chipotle Mexican Grill.
Internships and Competitions
From participation in faculty research to educational competitions, Chaplin School students are involved in a variety of activities that offer opportunities to apply knowledge in new ways.
Student and Entrepreneur Wins First Place In Annual Technology Conference
Juan Puerto, still a junior at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, won the top prize at the Annual Ice Cream Flavor Contest in the Most Innovative Novelty category.
Through the competition, held at the Ice Cream Technology Conference hosted by the International Dairy Food Association, his Coconut and Milk Fruit Bar stood out among products from big industry names like Wells Enterprises (BlueBunny), Dove, Baskin Robbins and Publix Supermarkets.
Juan credits the hospitality program at FIU with teaching him essential tools that he can use in and out of the food production laboratories. “Having learned foodservice operations, and accounting has been key to running my business,” he said.
Badia Spices Student Spice Competition
The spice rub competition challenges students to create a new flavor to be retailed by Miami-based Badia Spices, Inc. A percentage of proceeds from the winning spice’s worldwide sales will benefit FIU students in perpetuity.
Red Robin’s Golden Robin Contest
Each year, Chaplin School students have a chance to submit a winning burger recipe for Red Robin’s Golden Robin Contest. Students participating in the competition are invited to the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE. In 2014, two Chaplin School students were selected as winners by a panel of judges, including celebrity judge and Food Network personality Chef Robert Irvine.
- Florida International University Student Wins $10,000 Scholarship in Red Robin’s Golden Robin Contest
- Florida International University Student Brings the Heat as Red Robin’s Golden Robin Contest Winner
- Two Hospitality Management Students Win the Red Robin Golden Robin Contest and $10,000 Scholarship
Research and Product Development Internships at Frito-Lay
“I’m so used to working in restaurants that I don’t get to see where our snack food even comes from. Now I see how the multi-billion dollar corporations operate and how new products enter the market. I have seen how chefs and scientists have to come together to develop new products and flavors in an environment that marries both culinary exploration and scientific innovation.”
– John Kett, Student
“The chefs and engineers I work with daily are extremely talented, and I’m constantly learning from them. I don’t think I will ever see snacks the same way. Behind every snack sold there is a massive amount of work and talent put in. I just know that this experience opened my eyes to new possibilities in my career, and I have enjoyed my time in the R&D field more than I ever thought.”
– Gabriela Morales, Student
New Uses for Dry Fondant
The American Sugar Refining (ASR) Group’s innovation center collaborated with the Chaplin School for its Dry Fondant Competition. Students were challenged to come up with new applications for fondant that did not involve its traditional use in baking.
The Chaplin School has assembled an impressive instructional team with expertise in food and beverage science. With instruction from renowned wine professionals such as Dr. Barry Gump, FIU’s highly regarded beverage management program has produced graduates who have become executives at major beverage organizations across the globe.
Michael Cheng, Ph.D.
Dr. Michael Cheng’s food service career spans more than 20 years. A native of Malaysia, Cheng established the world’s first and only academic discipline that blends culinary arts and food science, Culinology®. The Vilcek Foundation recognized his achievements by placing him as a finalist in the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in the Culinary Arts in 2010. In March 2006, Cheng received his second Research Chefs Association (RCA) President’s Award where he was recognized for his continued innovation, dedication, leadership. and extraordinary contributions to the RCA community.
Barry Gump, Ph.D.
Eminent Scholar, Food and Beverage Program
Dr. Barry Gump is the first holder of the Harvey R. Chaplin Eminent Scholar’s Chair in Beverage Management at FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. In this position Dr. Gump is developing new graduate and undergraduate beverage classes to expand the offerings of the beverage management curriculum.
Dr. Gump has been in the wine industry for over thirty years, conducting research in analytical methodology applied to grapes, juices, and wines. He has also been a professional wine judge for many years at a number of major wine competitions (San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Sonoma County Harvest Fair, International Eastern Wine Competition, Florida State Fair Wine Competition, American Fine Wine Competition, Iowa State Fair Wine Competition, California State Fair Wine Competition, etc.).
Patrick “Chip” Cassidy
Instructor, Food and Beverage Program
Professor “Chip” Cassidy’s wine experience began over 40 years ago in New York. As a member of the entering class of FIU’s inaugural year, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. Professor Cassidy’s teaching career began in 1984. Today he teaches Wine Technology, The Business of Wine, and developed a Wine Certificate Program offered to professionals already working in the wine industry or in related fields. Currently the wine buyer for a large chain of wine stores, Crown Wine & Spirits, Professor Cassidy is also a noted speaker and fundraiser. He was instrumental in developing the concept to build the Southern Wine and Spirits Beverage Management Center, a state-of-the-art wine teaching laboratory.
Aaron Welch, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Food and Beverage Program
Dr. Aaron Welch began his career at the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management in 2013 to develop strains of the baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, that can perform novel useful functions in the hospitality arena. Among the many projects Dr. Welch has underway, he is developing a strain of yeast that can degrade Ochratoxin-A (OTA), a mycotoxin commonly found in wine. He earned his Ph.D. in Biology from The Johns Hopkins University in 2012.
Mark Traynor, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Food and Beverage Program
Dr. Mark Traynor’s career in the food industry spans 15 years, during which he has held numerous positions; both front of house and back of house foodservice positions, and in academia. From 2013-2015, Dr. Traynor took his educational background and food industry experience and expertise to use as the Assistant Professor of Culinology in Southwest Minnesota State’s Culinology and Hospitality Management department. There, Dr. Traynor taught classes in numerous areas with the discipline. Dr. Traynor is a Dublin, Ireland native and holds a B.A. in Culinary Arts with First Class Honors from the Dublin Institute of Technology. He completed his Ph.D. at the School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology in Dublin Institute of Technology.
Kitchen Lab @ FIU
The Chaplin School’s kitchen labs serve as a community outreach and training hub for new farmers, seasoned farmers, farm workers, and interested community residents to learn a variety of sustainable agriculture techniques, high intensity farming techniques, as well as to learn of alternative crop possibilities resulting in innovations that facilitate fresh produce, increased economic profit, and improved crop selection and transportation to markets. This unique interaction among farmers, food entrepreneurs, and faculty will help incubate new ideas that ultimately foster a culture of sustainability and strategic conservation.
Services provided by FIU faculty and staff include:
- Business plan development
- Financial advice
- Market strategy
- Recipe conversions to formulas
- Ingredient sourcing
- Understanding food regulations
- Finding co-manufacturers
- Quality and safety lab testing
- Food-product labeling requirements
Brewing Science Laboratory
Research at the Brewing Science Laboratory will enhance flavor quality and consistency in craft beer through yeast stabilization and water demineralization, specifically addressing impurities in South Florida as well water with larger applications for the craft brew industry. Dr. Barry Gump will lead the project in partnership with local craft brewer and wine maker Schnebly Redland’s Winery to improve the emerging craft brewing market in South Florida and stimulate local economy through retail of a yeast solution.
Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Laboratory
This 140-seat teaching restaurant featuring a wine tower and the Badia Spices Food Production Laboratory provides students with a leading edge as they enter the workforce.
The leadership and commitment of Southern Wine & Spirits has yielded tremendous benefit to the School, included an unrivaled sensory classroom, specialized learning spaces, scholarships, faculty support, and, most notably, one of the world’s most highly recognized wine and food events, the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE.