WSU Crimson Confections has made chocolates for 15 years, but executive chef Jamie Callison wants students to take more away from the business than the sweet smell of chocolates.
“It was really created to give our students real practical, experimental learning in marketing and sales,” Callison said.
The business operates out of Todd Hall’s Marriott Foundation Hospitality Teaching Center, he said. It is currently staffed by Callison, Chef de Cuisine Jason Butcherite, doctoral student Jessica Murray and three other students.
“We’re really excited that the students take this over, and [Murray] has been very influential in helping get this going along,” Callison said.
Murray said her experience working with Crimson Confections has prepared her for her career, giving her the experience she may have never had otherwise.
“I get to do a lot of teaching and hands-on learning with students,” she said. “I got to learn how to do all the FDA licensing for actually labeling the boxes and selling things in grocery stores.”
Murray said the majority of students involved in Crimson Confections are business hospitality and food science majors, but anyone who is interested can join.
All undergraduates in Crimson Confections are paid employees and are trained on the job, she said.
“They don’t have to know things about chocolate ahead of time,” Murray said. “They just have to be excited about chocolate.”
Crimson Confections used to strictly prepare chocolates for special events, but Murray said the university came to her and asked her to begin selling to the public.
Callison said some of the most popular chocolates the business produces are espresso, dark chocolate salted caramel, white chocolate earl grey and milk chocolate cinnamon.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on sales, but Callison said they are still working to produce chocolates.
The chocolates are available for purchase through the WSU Creamery, WSU Visitor Center, Merry Cellars Winery and the Carson College of Business website, she said.