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Chatham’s Eden Hall food competition, workshops focus on the future of food

Let the chopping and sautéing begin.

Eden Hall Campus of Chatham University in Richland is hosting its first-ever “pitch” contest, aimed at people in the area who have ideas about new or emerging food and agriculture businesses.

The competition, sponsored by Chatham’s Center for Regional Agriculture, Food and Transformation, or CRAFT, will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 2 at the Esther Barazzone Center.

“Local food businesses are at the heart of what we do at CRAFT as they contribute to our local food system and make our region more vibrant and sustainable,” said Nicolette Spudic, Director of Chatham’s Food Innovation Lab. “So we want to encourage a new entrepreneurial spirit in the food industry however we can.”

Spudic said the university emphasizes the importance of promoting sustainability in food production.

“When we look inward and focus on the regional food economy, we find that we are not only getting high quality food, we are putting money back in the pockets of our neighbours,” said she declared.

The competition is open to all businesses in the food industry, including consumer packaged goods, restaurants, food trucks, farms, breweries, wineries, distilleries, bakeries and cafes.

Entrants had to submit a one-minute pitch video by Feb. 28, which was reviewed by the judges to determine if they would advance to the April 2 contest. First-round winners were notified by March 4.

On the day of the competition, the finalists will submit a 5-minute pitch presented in front of a jury who will ask questions about the project.

A cash prize of $300 will be awarded to the 1st place winner in each category and a $150 prize will go to the second place finishers.

Winners will also receive a one-year membership to Chatham University’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship valued at $175; and a 30-hour consultation with the Innovation Lab valued at $2,000.

Spudic said learning to “pitch” or sell ideas and concepts can benefit entrepreneurs.

“The throwing skill is something that really needs to be practiced,” she said. “It’s something an entrepreneur will have to do when applying for a loan, trying to get a product from a store, or even if they want to rent space for their business. And, of course, you will have to present your product or services to customers. »

In addition to Chatham’s food studies programs and the Falk School of Sustainability and Environmentthe university shares its knowledge with the community through a wide range of programs.

From February to April, CARE offers workshops on cooking, baking, butchering and fermentation techniques taught by experts.

On March 12, there was a workshop called “Kraut, Kimchi and lacto-fermented vegetables”. A virtual workshop on March 13 focused on making Irish soda bread.

“The Pittsburgh area is home to such a variety of food preparation and processing techniques,” said program manager Cassandra Malis. “CRAFT is honored to provide these opportunities for local food experts to share their knowledge and expertise with those who are excited to learn how to develop their cooking skills at home.”

Spudic said the workshops are designed for “anyone who wants to learn more about food.”

She said that among the most popular programs was a course on butchery.

“We had a number of farmers in the shop who wanted to learn those skills because there’s been a reduction in the number of people doing that and they want to be able to provide that service,” Spudic said. .

The program is also popular among hunters looking to learn how to dress what they harvest.

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .