Unexpected “Perfect Ending” for Apprentice-Style Dessert Contest

November 21, 2006

Molasses Sweet Cake sidebarUpdate 2: Although the Common Man Apprentice Competition came to a close Dec. 6 with Plymouth State University’s Bursting Blueberry Crisp on top, all was not lost for Saint Anselm’s New England Molasses Sweet Cakes. Common Man CEO Jason Lyon announced Friday, Dec. 15, the confection created by the team The Perfect Ending will become a signature Common Man dessert at all five restaurants. (Listen to podcast to hear how the dessert was created.)

Here’s how it happened. Following the competition, Common Man employees discovered customer comment cards extolling the Molasses Sweet Cakes. Meanwhile, Common Man owner Alex Ray discovered the molasses cookies himself while sampling competition desserts. “They are something different; a unique offering which the owners liked and fit with the restaurant,” said Lyon, who had earlier declared the molasses cookies his favorite.

Lyon arrived at Professor Fitzpatrick’s class with dozens of molasses cookies, just before students were scheduled to start their final exam. “What an awesome Christmas gift” declared Katie Douglas ’07 as her group lined up to receive their prize. Thus, what seemed to be a second “molasses tragedy” for Douglas, Josh Moore ‘09, Jack Reilly ‘07, and Jen Tougas ’08 actually turned out to be quite the “Perfect Ending.”

Update 1: The Common Man Apprentice Competition came to a close Dec. 6, when Common Man CEO Jason Lyons announced the winners. In all, 2,313 competition desserts were sold in five Common Man restaurants. Saint Anselm’s own Gretal’s Stout Gingerbread was third runner up with a total of 322 pieces sold. Plymouth State University’s Team Blue developed the dessert with the greatest customer appeal, generating 572 orders for Bursting Blueberry Crisp. PSU desserts were also the first and second runners up. Saint Anselm’s Pumpkin Cheesecake and New England Molasses Sweet Cakes sold 251 slices and 240 servings respectively. The making of the Sweet Cakes (which Lyons called his personal favorite) was documented by WMUR TV’s New Hampshire Chronicle, which covered the competition.

Original Blog Post: In this podcast, we follow several students as they participate in the Second Annual Common Man Restaurant Apprentice Competition. Nine teams of Saint Anselm business students put their marketing prowess to the test last month. Now three teams will see if the desserts they created pass muster with Common Man customers.After five Common Man chefs had their say Oct. 25, the three teams won a temporary spot on the restaurant chain’s menu. Their confections will be offered to Common Man patrons from Nov. 14 to Dec. 3, in competition with three desserts created by Plymouth State University students.

The dessert that garners the most orders will win its team $750 and a more regular spot on the Common Man menu. Last year’s second-ranked dessert, a brown sugar cake created by a Saint Anselm team, still makes appearances on the menus of the Common Man and its sister restaurants.

To read a related item about this event, visit Saint Anselm’s News & Events Web site.

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5 Responses to “Unexpected “Perfect Ending” for Apprentice-Style Dessert Contest”

  1. Caroline Megan on November 27th, 2006 11:31 pm

    What a great program. I will definitely have to try these desserts at the Common Man!

  2. Peter Megan on November 27th, 2006 11:33 pm

    I remember seeing some of these desserts on the menu at the Common Man. Now I want to go back knowing that they were designed by Saint Anselm College students.

  3. Katie Cahill on November 28th, 2006 4:34 pm

    What a great thing for students to be involved with an Apprentice like program. I will definitely order dessert now at The Common Man

  4. Marc Dionne on December 4th, 2006 11:49 am

    The Pumpkin Cheese Cake was the best tasting dessert

  5. Angela M. on January 12th, 2007 12:04 pm

    I had dinner with my family one evening and I was surpirsed to see a listing of desserts from surrounding colleges. We ate the New England Molasses Sweet Cakes and it was terrific!!! We even had our server tell us that this was his favorite! Being an Alum of St. A’s, along with my mother, it was great to see St.A’s as one of the colleges represented in the contest.