March 23, 2018
Inventors and Innovators: Robert C. Baker
Purdue graduates, faculty and staff continue to develop innovations and breakthroughs that help move the world forward. Purdue Today will highlight these inventors and innovators by featuring two each month in the Purdue Today newsletter and on social media.
Today, we are featuring Robert C. Baker.
Baker, who grew up in Newark, New Jersey, earned his doctorate from Purdue. He became a Cornell University poultry science and food science professor after graduating from Purdue, and helped develop chicken nuggets, turkey ham and poultry hot dogs.
In 1963, Baker developed a way to keep breading attached to the nuggets during frying and enable people to eat the chicken without the breading falling off. This resulted in the popular nuggets that today are a staple in grocery stores and fast-food restaurants.
Baker also created Cornell chicken barbecue sauce, a popular sauce in the state of New York. He annually ran a chicken barbecue stand at the New York State Fair. Cornell University said President Clinton and his family asked for the sauce during their visit in 1999.
Baker founded Cornell's Institute of Food Science and Marketing in 1970. He retired in 1989 and died in 2006.