Ep. 058 – Catalyzing Critical Thinking with Sherrill Cropper, Bakery Formulation Specialist at Red Star Yeast

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This was a cool connection. A graduate student from Texas A and M, contacted Katie Lanfranki and Sherrill Cropper. They did a small little interview about the different perspectives between going to graduate school and not going to graduate school. I find this so cool! Not only did people get value from the podcast, but Katie was able to benefit from it as well! I love this! So Katie asked Sherrill to be on the show. Of course, I accepted.

Sherrill holds a PhD in Grain Science in Kansas State. Working in product development, she makes enzyme cocktails that help the baking industry make bread.

I loved talking about Sherrill’s diverse food industry background, such as the internships she did, and we talk a lot about bread. There is also a great amount of career advice such as communicating, critical thinking and networking tips.

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This episode is sponsored by FoodGrads, an interactive platform for the Food & Beverage Industry, which focuses on closing the gap between students/recent graduates and employers. With a broader mission to attract and retain people to a meaningful career in food. From Food Scientists to Farmers, Chefs to Plant Managers, QA Technicians to Dieticians or R&D to Sales, no matter what your passion–there’s something for everyone in Food—and they will help you find it.

Join FoodGrads for support, mentorship and guidance to start your career. You’ll see an amazing new website in Spring 2017. Just go to foodgrads.com

About Sherrill

Sherrill currently is the New Product Development Lab Manager for Lesaffre Yeast Corporation and RedStar Yeast where she develops ingredients for use in bakery applications. She received a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Food Science from The Ohio State University where her graduate studies focused on emulsifier and stabilizer functionality in ice cream. She worked as a Food Technologist for Roskam Baking Company before returning back to school to study cereal chemistry and baking at Kansas State University where she received a PhD in Grain Science. Sherrill interned at Nestle, Heinz North America, and Cargill during her undergraduate and graduate studies. She was raised on a dairy farm in Southern Ohio and she spends most of her free time traveling.

Key Takeaways

  • How Enzymes are made industrially. And what makes an enzyme “GMO”
  • Sherrill’s amazing knowledge in grains and emulsification
  • Our Cargill internship experience
  • The difference between whole wheat and white bread in terms of chemistry

Question Summary

What do you tell someone in a sentence or less: I develop ingredients used for industrial applications
Dough conditioners and dough improvers
Official job title: New Product Development Lab manager / Bakery Formulation Specialist
Sherrill develops the blends
Sherrill’s career path: Grew up in Dairy Farm, fell into Ohio State Food Science, Internship with Nestle, Internship with Heinz, Roskam Baking Company, Grain Science PhD at Kansas State, Internship at Cargill in shortning
Why do you like Bakery Science?: Niche, Kansas state is the only place that has grain science
Most Important Skill You Need for Your Job: Critical Thinking
How Do you improve critical thinking?: Ask yourself the question first
Why Does Your Food Job Rock: I get to feed the world
Dream Job Title: Director of Global Food Research
Take something out of any experience
What do you look for most in a job?: I need something challenging
What’s a big challenge you’ve had?: Remembering food law
Most “Exciting” Food Trends: Organic, Clean Label, Non-GMO. We have to pander to the market
Trending in the Bread world: Tortilla, whole wheat, on-the-go, donuts
Whole wheat chemistry: uses big words and tries to use clean label ingredients
Biggest Challenge: Educating consumers. Short content gives people problems
Solution: Just talk to consumer. Share the info
Who inspired you to get into food: My mom directed me to food science because I played with spices as a kid. I do the same with enzymes as well. She has true roots in agriculture
Favorite quote: Jackie Robinson: a life is not important except in the impact it has in other’s lives
What’s your favorite type of food: peanut butter sandwiches and cereal
Any advice to go into your industry?: Network and explore everything. Do the internships and meet people
Networking Tips: Go with a buddy, older people will talk to you because eof the generation gap
What conferences is beneficial to you?: IFT Expo, American Society of Baking, IBIE, Supply Side
If you were to tell your freshman self something, what would it be?: It’s going to be ok.

Other Links

Business to Business
Non-GMO enzymes
Clean Label
4H and FFA
Lipids and Emulsification
Cargill’s facility in Plymouth, Minnesota
IFT Documentary

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