PSU Business Students Have Recipe for Success

March, 2007
Erica Auciello Murphy photo.

Erica Auciello Murphy photo.

In a tasty blend of classroom lesson and entrepreneurship, a team of Plymouth State University business students took home top prize in a dessert competition modeled after the reality TV show The Apprentice. PSU Team Blue and their Bursting Blueberry Crisp were honored at a ceremony held on December 6, 2006 at the Common Man’s Concord eatery.

Launched last year, the “Common Man Apprentice” competition is the brainchild of PSU Business Professor Bonnie Bechard and her husband, St. Anselm College Business and Economics Professor Tom Fitzpatrick. Their goal was to give their students the opportunity to develop teamwork skills and real-life business experience.

During the semester-long contest, PSU and St. Anselm College business students formed teams, worked on product development, and presented their desserts to a panel of Common Man chefs. The rules were that the desserts could take no longer than an hour of preparation time and no more than three minutes to assemble and serve. The chefs selected the three best desserts from each school; the six desserts were then added to the menu at each of the five Common Man locations. The winning dessert was decided by total sales throughout November: Team Blue’s Bursting Blueberry Crisp sold the most with 572, earning the team prizes of $250 from PSU and $250 from St. Anselm College, a generous gift card from the Common Man, plus an additional $500 from the Common Man to be given to a charity or student organization of the team’s choice. Bursting Blueberry Crisp also earned a spot on the Common Man menu. The first runner-up was another PSU team, Baker’s Delight, with 486 orders for their white chocolate caramel cheesecake.

“I’m very proud of them. All of the students did an awesome job,” Bechard said. “Clearly, all of the desserts this year were a cut above.We did great last year, and the students seemed to learn a lot from the success of last year’s students, so I’m very excited about our success and bringing the winner’s plaque back to PSU.”

Team Blue comprised Matt Carney, a senior from Merrimack, NH; Jessica Voaden, a junior from Avon, CT; Ryan Griffin, a junior from Canton, CT; and Michael Vigneault, a junior from Merrimack, NH.

“I would say time management is the best lesson I learned. It was very difficult trying to work around each other’s schedules and get the work done, but we figured it out,” said Jessica Voaden.

Matt Carney believes the blueberry based dessert caught many diners’ eyes because it wasn’t seasonal. “I thought the recipe was a little different, especially for this time of year,” he said. “We worked on a different topping using graham crackers, so that little twist really made a difference.”

Common Man CEO Jason Lyon ’94 was very impressed with the competition results. “Keep in mind these are business students, not culinary arts students, but they jumped right into the process and came up with some pretty impressive and innovative recipes.”

Runners up included the PSU teams of Baker’s Delight, comprised of Meghan Grubbs, Tom Myers, Alec Vargus, Ali Pothier, and Michael Stack; and the Dainty Delights, with MeghanWhite, Jennifer Oddy, Stacy Harkabuf, Lianne Houde, and Kara Kiely. St. Anselm’s Gretal’s Stout Gingerbread entry also placed in the final judging.—Bruce Lyndes


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