Product Development Stories from Sargento Chef

Sargento chef Guy Beardsmore discusses new product development in foodservice and recounts a few of his hits ... and some misses.

By Diane Toops, News and Trends Editor

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"Consumers are looking for that old-fashioned taste that they remember growing up, like Mum's apple pie in the fall, roast lamb in the spring and tomatoes on the vine in summer, not mass-produced produce which lacks flavor."

Beardsmore‘s Mum is an inspiration in his life. "I learned a lot from my mother who is a great cook," he says. "I have always had a great passion for cooking."



"I have been in menu development for more than eight years," says Beardsmore, "but for the past few months, I have been doing product development. The biggest challenge for me has been making the move from developing a range of products through the development chefs and technologists, to being the one who has to do the developing from a gold standard product. Then I work with the rest of the team to get the product to bench to pilot plant and finally to launch.

"One of the first products I worked on is [Sargento's] range of Chef Style Sauces. The main challenge was getting the products from pot to pilot plant. I find that what may seem fairly straightforward on the stove top does not always translate well to a pilot plant or commercial scale.

"Due to safety and process hurdles, products are subjected to severe heat parameters, and the mechanical action of pumping products through various pieces of equipment adds a whole new dimension to the technical challenges of reproducing a product similar to the gold standard.

"I work closely with the technologist/scientists to make sure we are developing products that are as natural tasting as possible. The key at this point is Culinology. Having the opportunity to have a chef working side-by-side with a scientist, in my mind, allows us to resolve these technical issues and have the best execution possible.

"I've also found it important to work closely with suppliers to identify flavors and seasonings that deliver ‘chef quality' on a commercial scale. Many suppliers of ingredients have a corporate chef on staff as well, which has helped me communicate more effectively in designing or identifying the ingredient functionality needed. By merging the chef with the scientist on a project, we've been able to resolve technical issues in the Chef Style Sauce project."



Top of His Toque

FP: What is your personal formula, vision on food and lifestyle?

Chef article: Beardsmore closeupGB: Surround yourself with great friends, who enjoy great food and wine, and stay long enough to help with the dishes. Sleep late on the weekends.

FP: Could you describe your typical day?

GB: No, every day is different. That's what makes my job so interesting.

FP: What ingredients do you always keep in your refrigerator?

GB: Parmesan cheese, basil, butter, lemons, chicken and veal glacé.

FP: If you couldn't be a chef, what would you do for a living?

GB: I'd be a pop star. I just need to learn how to sing and dance and get some plastic surgery. I really cannot think of anything I would enjoy more than working with food.

FP: What are some of your favorite foods (when others are cooking for you)?

GB: Foie gras, duck confit, my mother's Sunday roast and my wife's pastry - anything with chocolate. She's a great pastry chef; she used to work at Trio with Gale Gand.

FP: What do you do in your spare time?

GB: Play golf, pursue photography, read and spend time with my family.


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