PSU and St. Anselm Desserts Compete in Common Man Apprentice

November 15th, 2005 by Adam

The Common Man Apprentice has entered phase two of the competition with the winning desserts from Plymouth State University competing directly with those from St. Anselm over the next three weeks. The head-to-head competition will play out on the dessert menus at the five Common Man Restaurants in Lincoln, Ashland, Concord, Merrimack and Windham. Overall sales will determine the ultimate winner, which will be announced on December 8 at the Common Man in Concord.

After facing the Common Man’s panel of judges in early November, winners from each class were chosen resulting in five semifinalists: two from Plymouth and three from St. Anselm’s.

From November 15 – 23, Aunt Alice’s Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake, created by PSU team Sweet Success—Kyle Allen, Graham Hoffman, Jessica Moyer, Kelly Pointkowski and Trevor Hall—will be on the menu. When asked how they chose their dessert, Pointkowski said, “We got permission to use my Aunt Alice’s secret family recipe for cheesecake, and then added the raspberry puree on the bottom and the chocolate ganache on the top. We also did a survey of customers at the Ashland Common Man about what desserts they typically order, and based on five choices we gave them, asked them what they though they would order.”

Autumn Spice Cake is the PSU contender from November 24 –December 4, and is the creation of team Sweet Success—Crystal Acheson, Ellen Blakely, Kimberly Rudolph and Dennis Ventola. At the suggestion of Acheson’s mom they searched the Internet for ideas on a chocolate spice cake. “We modified the original recipe slightly to make nine mini cakes instead of one large one,” says Crystal, “and chose hot fudge and a caramel drizzle instead of frosting.”

Dr. Bonnie Bechard, PSU professor of business, designed the program, modeled after the popular Donald Trump reality TV show, The Apprentice, to give students in her management course, Organizational Behavior, the opportunity to develop teamwork skills and build real-life business experience. To add an ingredient of friendly competition, Bechard enlisted her husband, Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick, a professor at St. Anselm College, to implement the same apprentice program with his students.

Bechard said the idea to work with a restaurant on a competition involving food came when she watched an episode of The Apprentice, where contestants worked with Burger King to help market a product. She immediately chose The Common Man and asked her former student and 1994 PSU alum Jason Lyon, CEO of The Common Man, to participate.