• LaunchChef Competition

    This year we will be awarding up to $5,000 to the winner(s) of LaunchChef™. The Grand Prize includes the opportunity to showcase their culinary talent at the LaunchTown Experience™ Finals event on April 15th, where an audience of 150 people will enjoy food prepared by the winner(s).


    Entrants must be a true startup, with this being their first venture in the food industry. This contest is open to all Ohio students and members of the community in the State of Ohio. Applications must be submitted by March 18.


    Semi-finalists must be available for interviews on March 23. Finalists will be asked to prepare their product for a panel of judges on Saturday, March 30, 2019.

  • The 2019 LaunchTown LaunchChef™Competition

    We are thrilled this year to conduct our second annual competition of LaunchChef™. LaunchChef™ was founded in order to provide an exciting platform to showcase winning products of food centered startups based in Northeast Ohio. We will honor this year’s winners at our April 15th event at the Baldwin-Wallace Center for Innovation and Growth. Winners will be showcasing their winning cuisine and be awarded $5000 in awards. Additionally, mentoring will be provided by our LaunchTown EXP™ Leadership team of professionals including successful entrepreneurs, university professors, startup experts, and attorneys. Our talented winners will be selected by our prestigious judging panel listed below.

    Andrea Margida, MS, RD

    A champion of entrepreneurs and innovators, founded LaunchChefTM to create opportunity and elevate the food scene. Andrea has a vast array of experience, ranging from Quality Control in the Food Industry, to development of innovative food products for the marketplace. She has been an advocate and leader in farm- to- table, locally sourced and low carbon footprint food, and is proud to create a memorable party for your palate. She shares her passion and culinary expertise through hosting numerous charitable auction dinners. Andrea's expertise has provided her with custom catering opportunities along with working in the restaurant business while successfully managing several establishments. Andrea has designed and taught nutrition and science courses at West Virginia, Ohio, and Walsh Universities. She founded and hosts farm-to-table entrepreneur experiences at Morning Mist Farm for groups of international diplomats in conjunction with the U.S. State Department. Andrea continues to share her passion for integrity in quality food sources on Morning Mist Farm, established as a model of sustainable agriculture, using farm practices to promote her belief that good food begins by being a good steward of the land.

    Denise Stanley

    Known as Chef DD to her friends, family and staff, has had a lifelong culinary passion, and has passed her fine art of cooking and entertaining on to her children. She enjoys sharing her years of experience and wisdom with others. Denise is passionate about local, sustainable, organic food and believes food should be our medicine, while also being delicious. She earned the distinguished honor of being valedictorian of the 2017 class at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Seattle. After graduating with honors, she reached her goal of being a Chef Instructor, which along with the catering business she owned and operated for 30 years, and her position as Head Chef at a private club, has given her extensive knowledge in the culinary field.

    Deborah Murray, MS, RDN, LD

    Has held various positions at Ohio University, ranging from Assistant Professor of Nutrition, to her current faculty position as Didactic Program Director. In addition, Deb is an Associate Lecturer of Food and Nutrition Sciences, and the Undergraduate Coordinator for Nutrition and Applied Nutrition. Prior to joining Ohio University, Deb was the Dietetic Technology Coordinator at Hocking College, where she was also a College Instructor, and received the Excellence in Teaching Award. She was also recognized as Ohio Outstanding Educator Award by the Ohio Dietetic Association. Deb has shared her vast knowledge of nutrition with the community by advising and assisting programs such as food pantries, local soup kitchens and food service planning for those struggling with poverty and homelessness. Her passion and extensive knowledge in food science have allowed her to mentor many as she strives to pass on her belief that food should provide sustenance, encourage fellowship, enrich health, and unite communities. She currently mentors graduate students, members of Faculty Advisor of Nutrition Club, and the Ohio University Women’s Mentoring Program.