Renee Erickson pickles figs, prunes,
onions and raisins at Boat Street Cafe,
and packs every jar by hand, selling them
under the Boat Street Pickles label.
U P a Brand
Chefs capitalize on their names and build their reputations
with packaged food products.
By Laura Taxel
“I’VE TRIED to capture the
excitement of eating at the restaurants and
put it in a jar,” says Brandt Evans, chef/co-
owner of Blue Canyon Kitchen & Tavern,
with venues in Kalispell and Missoula, Mont.;
Twinsburg, Ohio; and Rockwall, Texas.
Boxed sets of his signature spice blends and
recipes cards are sold at all four Blue Canyon
locations. “I want people to open their
cupboards, look at the logo and think of me.”
buzz and new revenue streams, expand
their brand and promote their restaurants.
Celebrity cooks were among the first to
go this route, but now even those who
can claim only regional or local fame are
getting in on the phenomenon.
statement of achievement, elevating your
stature in the public mind. They’re a great
marketing tool, useful as a kind of business
card, for gifts and as souvenirs for customers.
Done right, the venture can be profitable.”
Like Evans, many chefs around the country
are trying to package personal style and
a culinary philosophy in a bottle or a bag.
Signature food products can generate
“It’s very satisfying to see your name on
a label,” says Barbara Lang, a former
restaurant owner/chef who is a food product
development and marketing consultant
and author of From Restaurant to Retail:
A Handbook for Food and Hospitality
Professionals (Ronjon Publishing Inc., 2006).
“Branded products are perceived as a
But unless you’re a Bobby Flay or a Rick
Bayless, with deep pockets and a national
following, don’t imagine getting into this
sideline is easy. The product you create in
your kitchen may taste like a home run, but
it takes more than that to play in this game