Something I have envisioned for our industry for a very long time has happened. I love collaboration, I love passion and I especially love people who allow themselves to gain knowledge from others; mentors, peers and protégés alike.
The Culinary team at Custom Culinary has done just that. This group of well-seasoned, well-educated and well-traveled chefs started a Culinary Guild made up of fellow culnarians from their sales agency network. Unlike so many in the culinary field and certainly the food manufacturing environment Custom Culinary understands the foodservice sales environment. I just spent two days collaborating with Chef’s from all over the country who sell food to foodservice operators.
We met with the marketing team, the culinary team and the sales team; all of whom want to make sure their collective decisions about what and how to sell are in line with the foodservice industry. The collaboration of the chefs assembled was awe striking. The ideas and innovation that came out of this inaugural meeting of the guild were plentiful, creative and very useful.
The culinary team of Custom Culinary is led by Scott Gilbert. Scott was engaged in guiding the conference in such a way that we could extract, learn and add to the collaboration of the guild. Scott is a CIA grad who had a great career in foodservice and then moved to the world of manufacturing. He has worked for Minors before they were purchased by Nestle and now the Custom Culinary team. Scott has been in the foodservice product sales game for a very long time. Although he is quite good at it; he has stayed true to some inalienable truths we all learned in culinary school or in our kitchen training. We can always learn something new about food and we will never know it all.
I applaud this bold, humble and ultimately fruitful exercise in sharing. The sale agency business has become very closed off and secretive with the advent of regional and national brokerage structures. The practice of sharing best practices amongst the brokerage community has become a thing of the past. In my humble opinion this is a shame. Maybe it will be forward thinking manufacturers like Custom Culinary that will implement this age old but worthwhile practice.
I left this meeting enriched and I will use what I leaned and put it into practice. This guild is a work in progress and can be added to by all of the people involved by continually contributing to the group. New ideas, trends, best practices, product feedback both good and bad and market knowledge. All the ideas and feedback can be shared in an open forum such as this (a blog).
Again, I applaud this bold effort and look forward to contributing to it and growing with it for years to come.
Chef Bryan Knox