FIU Chaplin School Debuts Three New Laboratories

Roberta & Harvey Chaplin
FIU Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management responds to new developments in technology and science by creating three new cutting-edge culinary and beverage management laboratories to lead industry research and provide a revolutionary learning space for the next generation of students.


Wine Spectator Restaurant Management Laboratory serves as an incubator for students to explore new concepts and entrepreneurial ideas. The learning environment is also designed for students to practice executive management techniques that give them a competitive advantage when seeking executive employment directly after graduation. The Restaurant Management Laboratory features a two-story wine tower housing nearly 1,000 bottles in eight temperature-controlled display units. The space will also be open to the public for special events.

Brewing Science Laboratory is an enhanced laboratory facility that extends the Chaplin School’s existing Brew Science Program and serves as a solution center for the brewing industry by supporting innovative, applied research. Enrolled students will have the opportunity to study under the guidance of expert chemists and biologists to create new formulas that enhance the craft brewing industry.

Students may also use the laboratory for research and development purposes and to participate in public, craft brewery events such as the South Florida Brew Fest.

Food Production Laboratory boasts a 38-plus-foot cooking line and 385-square-foot kitchen prep area where students will undertake culinary management exercises for both low and high production events. The area will also offer custom workstations where students can experiment with world cuisine cooking techniques and practice a variety of food preparation and management skills.


Some of FIU’s most groundbreaking research includes the fight against cancer-causing toxins found in wine. Ochratoxin is secreted by several vineyard molds of the genus Aspergillus and may increase in its frequency and concentration in wines as a result of increased humidity and temperature brought on by climate change. The toxin is currently unregulated in the United States (unlike Europe). Funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, Dr. Aaron Welch (Ph.D. Cellular & Molecular Biology) is undertaking research and development aimed at solving this industry-wide problem and raising awareness by creating marketable yeast that fights Ochratoxin.

Lee Schrager

Research at the Brewing Science Laboratory will enhance flavor quality and consistency in craft beer through yeast stabilization and water demineralization, specifically addressing impurities in South Florida well water with larger applications for the craft brew industry. Dr. Barry Gump (Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry) and Research Assistant Matthew Weintraub will lead the project in partnership with local craft brewer and wine maker Schnebly Redland’s Winery. They hope to improve the emerging craft brewing market in South Florida and stimulate local economy through retail of a yeast solution.

The 2014 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE will launch the winning spice formula selected at the Badia Spices sponsored competition held at FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. The spice rub competition challenged students to create a new flavor to be retailed by Miami-based Badia Spices. A percentage of proceeds from the spice’s worldwide sales will benefit FIU students in perpetuity. Winner Jenifer Bound also received a $5,000 scholarship for her innovative formula. This type of applied research creates renewable monetary benefits for the school and provides grassroots experience for students.

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