Photo courtesy FIU Media Relations.
Alex Blencowe/ Staff Writer
In an industry where a majority of businesses fail, FIU senior Jenifer Bound is making her way into the restaurant industry and pursuing her passion for food.
As the winner for the Badia Spice Rub Competition at the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Management, Bound’s spice dry rub will be debuting at the Food Network South Beach Wine and Food Festival, presented by FOOD & WINE in February.
Badia Spices awarded Bound with a $5,000 scholarship, selling and distribution of the new spice and bragging rights. The other finalists received $2,000 scholarships each.
Her winning spice rub had a unique combination of smoked paprika, white pepper, roasted garlic powder, cumin, cocoa powder, chipotle chili powder, brown sugar and smoked sea salt.
“Mr. Badia came up with the contest idea to give students an opportunity to create a new product and compete for a winning scholarship,” said Lori Conduris, Badia Spices Public Relations and Marketing Director, in an email.
“Badia Spices has always been a pioneer and an innovator in the culinary industry. We want to pass on the legacy of being innovators and FIU students stand up to the tasks beautifully,” Conduris continued.
Aside from her plans to someday open a small bakery or café, Bound wishes to improve the food industry and change laws that protect food companies instead of the food they serve.
“A lot of these [fast] foods are very convenient, but is it convenient for the environment? Is it convenient for Earth?” said Bound. “I’m thinking of the packaging as well. How much of this is plastic? How much of this is going directly into the ocean?” Bound continues.
Bound’s greatest concerns include the issue of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, bringing more awareness to initiatives that use natural food, composting proposals by restaurants, battling the obesity issue in America and sustainability.[pullquote]“I like to approach food as a form of art,” Bound said.[/pullquote]
Bound got married and gave birth to her daughter, Serenity, in Portland, Ore., where she received her associates degree in pâtisserie and baking at Le Cordon Bleu, before moving to Florida.
While in Oregon, Bound competed in various cooking competitions and worked with star chefs from around the country, working multiple positions in a number of restaurants.
“I was doing my boss’s work for him,” Bound said, recalling working in the front and back of the restaurant and discovering her success in the food business.
“I thought, might as well use something I’m good at to my advantage,” said Bound. She plans to pursue a master’s degree and teach at FIU, if the graduate program in food science comes to fruition.
“You really want to understand what you’re eating and what you’re tasting,” said Bound, who believes working with flavours is a very specific science.
In her winning spice rub, Bound used a spice that most spice companies do not carry in their line—smoked sea salt, an ingredient she uses regularly as a pastry chef to bring out the ‘savory and sweet’ flavors.
“I like to approach food as a form of art,” Bound said. “I’m looking for that ‘aww’ moment that takes people’s breath away.”