First freshLAB 'Foodie Challenge' announced

Aug 21, 2017

Press release:

Are you a foodie who loves to cook and aims to learn more about this craft? Under the aegis of freshLAB, Batavia Development Corporation is co-hosting a Foodie Challenge with the Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 23.

Deemed the official start to recruiting aspiring restaurateurs for freshLAB, this one-day challenge will offer kitchen access and chef mentoring by Chef Tracy Burgio, the certified Culinary Arts Instructor at the Batavia CTE Center.

The Foodie Challenge is limited to 25 participants from seasoned cooks to homemakers who are encouraged to share sweet and savory flavors.

During the competition, a Selection Committee will taste all flavors in order to offer top competitors free tuition to an upcoming restaurant ownership Boot Camp that will take place at the freshLAB facility in Batavia. This boot camp will offer a series of restaurant ownership workshops taught by industry experts, which includes two more juried tastings. The boot camp is set to begin in October and will run until January.

“I challenge students and feel this awesome project is an extension of our approach in the classroom,” said Chef Burgio.

Interested in participating in the Foodie Challenge? A few notable twists add interest to the challenge:

1. You must be a “Spirited Foodie” -- which is defined as a courageous person who seeks new food experiences.

2. The Spirited Foodie must source at least one ingredient regionally to prepare the recipe.

No professional cooking experience necessary, only a good recipe and a $25 entry fee. Bring your own ingredients; any necessary cooking equipment will be provided along with chef guidance. Register online at www.freshLABBatavia.com

The deadline to enter is Sept. 9. Each Food Challenge entry will be provided one free guest admission to the ticketed tasting evening event on Sept. 23. Tickets to this event are $20 per person and may be purchased at www.freshLABBatavia.com

All recipes must be prepared at Batavia CTE Center commercial kitchen on Sept. 23. Student porters will be enlisted to help navigate the kitchen efficiently. Foodie Challenge entrants must prepare 150 two- to four-ounce samples.

A ticketed tasting event will cap off the evening. Proceeds will benefit the Batavia CTE Center Culinary Arts Club. Ticketed guests will cast their votes for his/her favorite sweet or savory sample, which will be granted the People’s Choice Award.

This event will take place at the Batavia CTE Center from 5-7 p.m. following the competition. Tickets to this event are $20 per person and may be purchased at www.freshLABBatavia.com.

“Creative business ideas set companies apart,” commented Steve Pies, board director for Batavia Development Corporation. “We’re looking for flavors not available in Batavia. There’s a huge opportunity for the right concept.”

Pies is referencing the Clue Group market research indicating Genesseeans spend $12,400,000 to eat and drink outside the area every year. freshLAB was conceived to tap that immense market potential, strengthening the local industry to keep dining dollars local. The Foodie Challenge is what the business world would call “ideation,” a way to churn unique ideas.

The Foodie Challenge is a collaborative effort of the Batavia Development Corporation, Batavia Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center, Batavia Business Improvement District and the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce.

Questions regarding the Foodie Challenge may be directed to Julie Pacatte at the Batavia Development Corporation at (585) 345-6380. Registration form available online at www.freshLabBatavia.com.

By Howard B. Owens, The Batavian