Cookbook Chefs Win Culinary Entrepreneurship Contest

07/28/2017Media Inquiries

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Saint Louis University dietetic interns are learning how to create their own culinary entrepreneurship opportunities in a class which gives students six weeks to start a business and double their initial investment. 

The winning project, "The Frugal Food Girls No-Waste Cookbook" by Carla Velarde, left, and Ellyn Cory, right, is available for purchase on Amazon. Photo by Maggie RotermundThe winning project, "The Frugal Food Girls No-Waste Cookbook" by Carla Velarde, left, and Ellyn Cory, right, is available for purchase on Amazon. Photo by Maggie Rotermund

Six weeks. An initial investment of $200 or less. The goal – create a business plan, execute it and double the initial investment funding.

Dietetic interns in Whitney Linsenmeyer’s summer Diet 5350 class participated in “DoubleDown,” an exercise in entrepreneurship that incorporates the students’ culinary education and skills. 

“They have to create pilot ventures from scratch, execute it and showcase their business and marketing plan to their classmates within a six week time frame,” said Linsenmeyer, an instructor in Nutrition and Dietetics.

The projects could be individual or the students could create teams of up to four students. Projects varied from cooking classes, dietary and exercise advice to products and services available for sale. 

Ellyn Cory and Carla Velarde, winners of the DoubleDown competition, wrote "The Frugal Food Girls No-Waste Cookbook," which is available for sale as a printed book or a Kindle e-book on Amazon. 

"When you are cooking for one or two people it can be difficult not to waste food," Cory said. "You want to cook with fresh food, but it can be hard to figure out what to buy so you don't waste anything."

Several projects involved one-off events including a class on making baby food held at Dierbergs Markets, a brunch cooking class and fast breaking meals held during Ramadan.

Some groups created products for sale. Jazz Cold Brew is a cold-press coffee available for sale at Soulard Farmers Market. Mason It Easy offered shelf-stable mason jars filled with summer bean soups and recipes for using the beans and spices for other recipes.

Each group outlined their business plan, how they marketed their product or services, and whether they reached their DoubleDown goal of doubling their initial investment of $50, $100 or $200. The students also had to predict the future viability of their business in front of a panel of judges.

"It's a great way for students to explore the many ways that they can be entrepreneurs within the culinary and dietetic fields," Linsenmeyer said. 


Long a leader in educating health professionals, Saint Louis University offered its first degree in an allied health profession in 1929. Today the Doisy College of Health Sciences offers degrees in physical therapy and athletic training, biomedical laboratory science, nutrition and dietetics, health informatics and information management, health sciences, medical imaging and radiation therapeutics, occupational science and occupational therapy, and physician assistant education. The college's unique curriculum prepares students to work with health professionals from all disciplines to ensure the best possible patient care.