CAREER TRACK what’s for dinner?
Schaeffer is just one of many chefs on staff. There are regional
vice presidents, regional chefs and an executive chef with a
culinary team in each store. Those executive chefs oversee in-house restaurants and the preparation of a vast number of hot and
cold prepared foods that, Schaeffer says, are important to today’s
supermarket customers. Health, convenience and affordability
are what these customers, whatever their age, want.
Asian cuisine, sushi, Italian dishes and Mexican specialties are
part of the mix supermarket customers are looking for today. Popular
chains aren’t disappointing them. One offering in Wegmans’ ready-to-cook program is chicken cacciatore. Ready-to-eat items include
soups and salads and bowls such as red chili-braised beef and salsa
verde-braised pork. The restaurants, food courts, hot bars and salad
bars offer a wide selection of ethnic dishes.
Tim Donnelly, corporate chef for Lakeland, Florida-based
Publix Supermarkets, says Publix customers are looking for
“convenient, great-tasting foods.” One of his responsibilities is to
manage recipe development, a big part of the Publix repertoire. The
Aprons recipe program provides customers with menu ideas for
entrees and sides and the instructions to prepare them. Donnelly is
part of a chef team that includes regional and in-store chefs.
For customers who don’t have the time or the inclination to
cook for themselves, Publix offers a wide variety of ready-to-eat
or ready-to-heat products. Rotisserie chicken is a signature item
available in all stores. Other products vary depending on location.
Ready-to-cook meals are designed for customers to take home
and cook on the grill or stove or in the oven. Ready-to-eat dishes
just need to be heated. Selections include creamy-marinated pork
chops with vegetable yellow rice. The marinade is made from
Greek yogurt and saffron, among other ingredients. Seafood cook-in-bag meals allow customers to select the fish or seafood and their
preferred flavor profile. The seafood department staff assembles
the ingredients in a cooking bag to put in the home oven.
Publix also has a selection of ethnic foods for customers to
choose from. For those who want to cook foods from around the
world at home, stores offer how-to cooking classes covering such
specialties as potato samosas with mango curry, banh mi pork
sandwiches, chicken and chorizo arepas with chimichurri, and
Thai shrimp and noodles.
READY-TO-GO OR READY-TO-HEAT?
Regina Mehallick left the restaurant kitchen for retail when
she was 60 years old. “I wanted to do something different,” she
says. She still wanted to cook, however, so in 2014, she opened
R2GO (READY2GO) Specialty Market in Indianapolis. She
provides a wide variety of products from around the world and
ready-to-go meals prepared by her staff.
ABOVE, TOP: R2GO Specialty Market in Indianapolis offers a wide variety of
products from around the world and ready-to-go meals prepared by staff.
ABOVE, BOTTOM: The Cheese Shop is known for its deli sandwiches, including the
popular Phil’s Phabulous.
OPPOSITE: At full-service butcher shop Farm Field Table, chef Matt Romine
butchers meat for consumer and restaurant customers.