Tropical Foods Culinary Corner with Chef Ashley Cummings

In October of 2012, Tropical Foods hosted the Flavors of the Fall Recipe Contest with culinary students at the Charlotte Campus of Johnson & Wales University. We're catching up with some of the finalists to see what they are up to now. Next up is finalist Ashley Cummings who created the recipe Tropical Food's Trail Mix Brittle using Tropical Food’s Diet Delight®

Tropical Foods: What have you been up to since the Tropical Foods Flavors of Fall Recipe Contest?
Ashley Cummings: "I finished culinary school at Johnson & Wales. I took some time to explore South America (Brazil and Peru)...amazing! I am currently working as an assistant food service director in Baltimore, Md."

TF: Tell us about your experience in the Tropical Foods recipe contest.
AC: "I had a great experience with the Tropical Foods competition. The interview piece was fun. I learned that brainstorming is key to successful recipe development and I was proud of what I presented."

TF: How unique was it to work with Tropical Foods products as ingredients?
AC: "The trail mix certainly presented challenges. I wanted to do something different that actually incorporated the trail mix into the recipe and wasn't simply an add on. I think the brittle certainly did that. The fact that I actually plated the brittle was huge!"

TF: What was your favorite part of the recipe competition?
AC: "My favorite part of the competition was the rush right before plating. I felt like I was on TV!"

TF: What are the next steps in your culinary career?
AC: "Next steps for me? R&D! I have a sauce idea that I think is a game changer. Now, I must get the resources and energy in place to make it happen. Wish me luck!"


Tropical Foods specializes in premium snack mixes, freshly roasted nuts and seeds, dried fruit, and hundreds of bulk and packaged candies, spices, grains and specialty foods. Tropical Foods has an extensive line of retail branded products, including Grabeez®,Buffalo Nuts® and Dip & Devour Dipping Chocolates.  The company was founded in 1977 with an original product line of 100 items which has grown to include more than 3000 today. Second generation, woman-owned, Tropical is headquartered in Charlotte, NC, with additional operating centers in Orlando, Atlanta, Memphis, Washington DC and Dallas