Smooth Mustard

A new product developed and produced by the Food Science and Nutrition Department

It was a great opportunity to emphasize and apply the food science skills we have learned in our classes while gaining direct experience.

— Kylie Wai

Smooth and spreadable, with a hint of sweetness and a unique tinge of vinegar. Those are the qualities that a four-person student team sought to achieve while creating Cal Poly’s latest food product – mustard.

The condiment will join the ranks with a handful of other student-made Cal Poly favorites such as chocolates, jams and barbecue sauces. Customers eager to give it a try will find it available at the Cal Poly Meats market come October.

The students, all fourth-year food science majors, spent 12 weeks over the summer of 2021 immersed in a culinology internship developing the product from conception to completion – handling everything from determining the ingredients, sampling various recipes, securing the necessary legal compliance, sensory evaluation and formulating the final recipe to be jarred in a small batch first run. The students were all enrolled in Food Science senior project internship class, FSN 459, a new offering in the department. 

The idea for creating a Cal Poly mustard was pitched by Jim Douglass and Morgan Metheny, who manage Cal Poly's J & G Lau Family Meat Processing Center. Douglass saw a prime opportunity to pair it with Cal Poly meats and cheeses.

“It was a great opportunity to emphasize and apply the food science skills we have learned in our classes while gaining direct experience,” said Kylie Wai, a fourth-year food science major with a double concentration in advanced food science and culinology. “I’m proud to produce a product that has the Cal Poly name on it and have a direct impact on campus.”

Molly Lear, operations manager who oversees the Food Science and Nutrition Department’s student production crews, said the experience was an invaluable one for the students involved who had to apply to be a part of the internship. “They not only learned how to work as a team but excelled at organizing and planning throughout the process – despite challenges such as delays in securing ingredients,” Lear said. Food Science professors Amy Lammert and Samir Amin assisted along the way, offering guidance on sensory applications and ingredients.

“We were challenged to think for ourselves and overcome the hardships that come along with developing a new product, just as we will in industry,” said Briana Lewis, a fourthyear food science major with a concentration in culinology. “What I love about food science is seeing something you had an impact on.”


Visit Cultivate Spring 2022 to read more stories.

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