Blending Food Science and Entrepreneurship

A photo of Kassandra Julian in the Purdue food labs.
Pictured above: Kassandra Julian in a Purdue Food Science Lab

Kassandra Julian is a determined and passionate Purdue senior in Food Science, pursuing a minor in Fermentation and the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She is also involved in the Food Entrepreneurship and Manufacturing Institute Program offered through the College of Agriculture. Kassandra’s story is an inspiring tale of self-discovery and culinary exploration.

Kassandra’s college journey initially began with some uncertainty as she joined Purdue’s Exploratory Studies Program. However, her life took a different turn when she became roommates with a Food Science major, sparking a newfound interest in the world of food. Kassandra’s love for cooking and baking had its roots in her childhood when she shared moments with her grandmother, experimenting with mixing bowls and measuring cups. Her greatest joy comes from sharing her delightful creations with others.

Driven by her dreams of one day opening a restaurant, Kassandra decided to enroll in the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In her classes, instructors and guest speakers illuminated the immense commitment of time and energy required to run a restaurant. This revelation led her to explore a career more closely related to food science at an industrial level. Her aim was to utilize her profound knowledge of food science to craft unique tastes and textures through carefully selected ingredients and various cooking techniques.

Kassandra’s journey took an exciting and unexpected turn when she secured an internship at Campbell’s Food and Beverage Services at their Pepperidge Farm Plant, an experience that has solidified her post-Purdue career plans. At the end of her internship, she was offered a full-time position, leading her to relocate to Connecticut upon graduation.

Presently, Kassandra is immersed in a “Sauces and Pickling” course (SFS 39100/FS 49100), where she has been given the opportunity to pursue her passion for fermented foods and gain hands-on experience in making and selling a fermented product. In this course, she and her team are diligently developing unique Purdue-themed hot sauces. Almost every ingredient they use is sourced from the Purdue Farm, emphasizing sustainability and local sourcing. Under the guidance of their dedicated professors, Amanda Deering, Allison Kingery, Chris Adair, and Steve Hallett, Kassandra’s team is working tirelessly to perfect their hot sauce. Their taste testers, consisting of Purdue students and faculty, provide valuable feedback. The team is also collaborating with Purdue Marketing to design a label that embodies both Purdue’s brand and the essence of their hot sauce.

Kassandra attests that this course, which focuses on transforming ingredients and ideas into tangible products, has manifested her interest in food science into a true passion. The profits from the sale of their hot sauce will be reinvested into the course to provide similar experiences to future students. Stay tuned for the unveiling of her team’s delectable creation and information on where it can be purchased.