Cal State LA students cook up a win with new vegan entrée

packaging of new food product

A team of Cal State LA food science and technology students won first place and a $1,000 cash prize in a food industry competition for the second consecutive year.

The competition was part of the 29th Annual Southern California Food Industry Conference held in Anaheim. Nine college teams participated in the 2016 Student Product Development Competition, which was organized by the Southern California Institute of Food Technologists Section.

food science eteam“[Our] students used their knowledge and understanding of various food science fields such as food chemistry, microbiology, preservation and food product development to create this award-winning new product,” said Professor Sunil Mangalassary, the team’s faculty adviser.

The students won with Vegan Dolma, a grilled red pepper stuffed with heart healthy, brown basmati rice, red quinoa and carefully selected vegetables made with a special blend of spices.  

The entrée is “uniquely preserved with lemon peels, giving a concentrated lemon flavor to the dish without all the sour tartness,” said Hayk Harutyunyan, who is the team captain.

The Cal State LA team also included students Yesenia Gonzalez, Arturo Jordan, and Ruby Mendoza.

The Food Science and Technology Program at Cal State LA provides students with knowledge and skills in the areas of food safety, food preservation technologies, food analysis, quality assurance, and new product development.

Mangalassary said the students’ win brings acclaim to the University’s program.

Photos: Top, Packaging of Vegan Dolma product. Below, Cal State LA Professor Sunil Mangalassary, center, with award-winning food science and technology students, l-r, Ruby, Yesenia, Arturo and Hayk. (Credit: Cal State LA)

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Cal State LA is a university dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 27,000 students and 240,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the city we serve. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Cal State LA has long been recognized as an engine of economic and social mobility. Led by an award-winning faculty, the University offers nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and the humanities.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex, TV, Film and Media Center and the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good. For more information, visit