The 20th Annual Research Chefs Association Conference was held in Puerto Rico this year, and it marked the second year that I have held the Certified Culinary Scientist (CCS) title and the one-year anniversary of starting the PeasOnMoss podcast and the Culinologist feature within it.
At the 2016 Conference in Denver, CO, I met Chef Phil Saneski, the first RCA Student Committee president and enthusiast for promoting the industry, members, and professionals in all sectors. He had started The Culinologist blog, and we schemed together to create a podcast featuring culinologists and using the PeasOnMoss platform. He carefully built a list of professionals and RCA leaders who would be good interview guests, and I started recording interviews.
The first ones were difficult, and the learning curve to use Garage Band, Zencastr, Skype and Call Recorder was as steep as ever. Joshua Schaub has stepped in to be the producer and editor, because he knew how much I loved connecting with the chefs but how much I struggled with editing the interviews. Pernell Marsh and Joshua Schaub also provided theme music for the podcast episodes, and it was a team effort to create episodes and share them to PeasOnMoss, iTunes, Stitcher, and The Culinologist.
What came of the labor was over 20 interviews with research chefs, product developers, and professionals in the industry who shared their career stories and key insights that have led to career successes.
I have learned so much from each of the guests, and it is a unique opportunity to share stories and gain pointed advice about my career and my approach to food product R&D. From Chef Greg Grisanti’s recommendations of how to speed through iterations to Chef Barbara Zatto’s need to reinvent herself as the industry has changed, I have invited listeners to share the conversations and learn alongside me. From my perspective as a mid-career research chef, I can seek guidance from the ones who have more experience and also reflect on the lessons I’ve already learned, checking to make sure I had the right take-aways.
At the 2017 Conference, RCA President Catherine Proper chose me as one of the recipients of the President’s Award in recognition of the effort to produce a podcast that highlights the Culinology world, whether that’s food service, product development, or consultancy work.
It was such a surprise and honor to receive the recognition and to be counted among the other chefs who volunteer their time and money to promote the industry and career. There are leaders in the RCA whom I respect deeply for their careers and their wisdom, and to be considered an up-and-coming contributor is a mantle I bear proudly.
The recognition and strong support shows me that the platform is a needed venue for sharing our stories, because product developers are often hidden from the public eye. This year, I plan to pick up sponsors and advertisers to cover the costs of hosting the site, the show, and to compensate individuals who have volunteered their time and talents. The biggest indicator that we are meeting a need is the warm reception for the show and the verbal commitments that I have received from some brands that they would like to be founding advertisers and sponsors.
This podcast provides a unique glimpse into an industry that impacts everyone in some way, assuming we all eat food! From agriculture and sourcing raw materials to processing ingredients and eventually making and selling food, the food industry is involved in it all. Television shows, blogs, books, and podcasts often share the glamour of recipes and cooking, but the PeasOnMoss podcast shares the scientists’ perspectives on what we do to get delicious, safe food to your home. For other developers, we also share technical advice that will help speed the product development process and improve the products made.
The PeasOnMoss blog started as a documentary blog about my culinary school experiences, crossing from the military to the civilian world, and the audience has followed me along the way in my career. Now as a seasoned product developer, I have changed the site to become a resource and an encouragement for those considering the career field and who are “young professionals.” I hope to bring the audience and readers continued value, as we continue to grow and produce content.
If you would like to join the conversation or keep the conversation going through sponsorships, please contact me. I would love to help you share your career story and promote your food business and products.