BLOOMINGTON, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--For the past two years, a group of chefs, marketers and product developers from Schwan’s Company has crisscrossed the country, visiting the restaurants and home kitchens of the diverse group of chefs that make up Schwan’s Chef Collective. Comprised of Food Network stars, “Top Chef” contestants, successful restaurateurs and distinguished corporate chefs, Schwan’s Chef Collective taps into regional trends and brings what they learn to Schwan’s product innovation process.
“Our Schwan’s Chef Collective is made up of chefs from across the country, who all have unique cooking styles and passions — and that is by design,” says Lauren Halgerson, manager of Schwan’s Chef Collective. “Through our Taste Tours that started in September of 2015, we’ve joined these chefs to discuss regional trends from across the country and take back key learnings to our test kitchens in Marshall, Minnesota. These influences have helped us create new food concepts for our customers.”
Taste Tour Results
Over the past two years, Schwan’s Taste Tours have been led in Minneapolis, St. Louis, Miami, Los Angeles and New York, all in the hometowns and restaurants of the members of the Schwan’s Chef Collective. By exploring the local markets of the chef members, Schwan’s has tapped into regional flavor trends to inspire the company’s new food innovations and develop new recipes for existing Schwan’s products.
From New York-based Schwan’s Chef Collective member Adrienne Cheatham’s Koreatown-inspired spicy BBQ wings to Miami-based chef Todd Erickson’s grilled fish with mango-mustard glaze, each chef brought the essence of their local eateries into recipe inspiration for home cooks, ideation for new food concepts in retail and solutions for foodservice partners.
Long-time Schwan’s partner and member of the Schwan’s Chef Collective, Chef Jet Tila, invited the team into his Los Angeles home to see first-hand where he draws his cooking inspiration. While there, Tila created a Hawaiian pork loin rack roast recipe using oyster sauce, soy sauce and hoisin sauce.
“My food is predominantly Thai and Chinese because it was the food I was exposed to growing up,” Tila said. “And my cooking overall represents the neighborhood where I grew up in LA — between Thai Town, Chinatown, Koreatown and Little Tokyo.”
Katie Lee Collier, a prominent chef from St. Louis, Missouri, invited the Schwan’s Chef Collective to her award-winning artisan Italian restaurant, Katie’s Pizza & Pasta Osteria, to develop recipes highlighting seasonal ingredients as pizza toppers and using them to add more flavor to dishes.
“Through the Schwan’s Chef Collective Taste Tours, we were interested in injecting fresh thinking into our innovation process,” said Stacey Fowler Meittunen, senior vice president of Product Innovation & Development at Schwan’s Company. “By leveraging some of today’s hottest culinary talent to introduce us to trending and authentic new ingredients, cooking styles and preparation techniques, we have been able to create delicious recipes that fit the ever-changing tastes of our customers. We look forward to our next round of taste tours that will take place in 2018 and beyond.”
Schwan’s Chef Collective helps fuel the product innovation and development pipeline across all of Schwan’s businesses and supports its continuing journey to create delicious, convenient food that meets dietary needs and uses responsible, sustainable and natural ingredients.
For more information, visit www.schwanscompany.com/schwans-chef-collective.
About Schwan’s Company
Based in Minnesota for 65 years, Schwan’s Company is a privately held business that manufactures and markets quality foods through home-delivery, retail-grocery and food-service channels. Its many popular brands include Red Baron®, Tony’s® and Freschetta® pizza, Mrs. Smith’s® and Edwards® desserts, Pagoda® snacks, and Schwan’s® fine frozen foods. To learn more about Schwan’s, visit www.schwanscompany.com.