FLAVORS AND THEIR ABILITY TO TRANSPORT
YOU TO ANOTHER PLACE AND TIME
Profood Tech 2017-Chicago
The team of Pecan Deluxe ventured out to Chicago to attend and exhibit at the ProFood Tech Show, formerly known as The International Dairy Show! In all of my corporate life of planning, setting up, running, and breaking down booths at other big show events, never did I truly execute and plan the way this team did and continues to do. The meetings, phone calls, text messages, facetimes, and practically smoke signals, were endless, so it felt last year, but after having attended and worked the booth as a first timer at Pecan Deluxe, I can honestly say.. WOW! Now THIS team knows how to plan a booth. Meetings filled with dozens of next steps, thoughtful improvements, engagement of team, participation of the team…you can see where this going. It wasn’t just the Marketing/Sales booth—it was ours! Total ownership of everyone at Pecan Deluxe. This isn’t just for the booth, it’s the culture, and the way of life as the Brigham family has created. One that I hold dear to my sweet, pastry heart, and one that I want to protect.
As a quick background the ProFood Tech show is an industry leader for the dairy market—not a retail show; rather, a manufacturer highlight. Machinery, packaging, flavor houses, inclusions (us!), and all things surrounding the dairy field (ice cream, cheese, and yogurt). Pretty cool to see! So as you can see the entrance to our booth, our new logo, the hanging sign and three windows on the back portion of the booth. You may be asking, “What is this booth representing?” Picnic? Family reunion style? BBQ? Nope—we created a “pop up” restaurant concept based on our three plant locations: United States, England, and Thailand.
The “pop-up” shop on the left side was our more US inspired, Brigham’s Bakery, showcasing the bakery capabilities of Pecan Deluxe Candy. The middle shop was Pecan Deluxe Snack House featuring snack blends inspired from the UK’s most popular menu itmes, and the third and final shop was, “Polar Thai Rolled Ice Cream,” named after “Polar Bear Ice Cream” where Pecan Deluxe originated. In this shop, “restaurant”, we featured our amazing ice cream innovation by utilizing the fried ice cream machine that allows freezing of ice cream base, then ‘rolled’ up and served with sauces and candies and literally looks like a jelly roll. Truly one of the coolest booth ideas I’ve ever seen!
As many may know a pop up restaurant is one that isn’t locked in a firm spot for any longer than 90 days. Many cities in the US have a fun destination for the ‘cool and hip’ crowds where all food cuisines can be an option for just a quick walk down a corridor. Outside eating, community gathering tables, and creating opportunities for networking and social time. I love the idea and as you can see, we were able to capture that same spirit within our booth—cable tables, metal school chairs, spools of paper towels, and….well, that was it! The setting was placed, and boy did the crowds approach to enjoy all we had to offer.
The Thai rolled ice cream and bakery items were all served in kraft paper boats (kind of what you would see at a food truck yard), but the snack blends were all served in the pre-printed paper cone cups. Our fabulous Marketing Director, Tara, ordered pre-printed paper cones serving vessels for the snacks blends–the old English type, newspaper-like headings, all reflected the feel and look of England… perfect, isn’t it! Oh, and the Pecan Deluxe logo stickers?!? Yep, another detail I loved.
We also showcased 8 fun and flavored-filled ice creams, all labeled using adorably designed stickers with the Pecan Deluxe logo and the ice cream names. You may ask….was this Tara’s idea? I will confirm YES! She never missed a beat! Look at each ice cream….my mouth watered every day at the beauty of what our development team had produced. Again, so much talent!
The week in Chicago was truly enjoyable, fun, and extremely tiring, but one of the most important missions for me is always (well, besides creating yummy desserts) connecting with people. Leadership, sales, marketing, culinary, and R&D were all present for the week of the show. Amazing how once out of the office, we find the fun in everyday life.
This is the team; this is everything to me! So what does one do outside of a busy show in Chicago? We eat! So many amazing restaurants to enjoy, so many sites to see, and too many fun corrals and bars to count. We worked our tails off at the show, but it never stopped us from enjoying a perfect meal and ‘breaking bread’ together. I love the term, “Breaking Bread,” as it delivers a sense of community, honor and respect for each person at the table. Every team member had a hand in the celebration and success of our booth—why not celebrate it every evening as a job well done?! Though I can’t even begin to explain my love and adoration for this company, what I can say is this team is family to me. They have my back, as I have theirs. My colleague, Smokey, one incredibly talented chef, is the foundation of our team. He teaches me every day to continue to be rational and mindful in all I do. The chef from our England plant was able to join us in Chicago for the week, and man, did we enjoy him! Chef Simon, a veteran in the industry, a work-horse in the kitchen, and quite the inquisitive guy at heart, worked the Thai rolled ice cream station with Smokey. First comment from Chef Simon—the attendees wanted to know him more. The accent was a big hit with mid-westerners. When you have these men at the bench, working and knocking out product, you have perfection. Simon and Smokey were amazing to watch, adored by our team and crew, and quite honestly, I’ve never seen Thai rolled ice cream look so inviting. Chefs connect on a level that’s hard to explain. We ‘get’ each other—artist to artist. There’s love for creativity, respect, passion, and drive. Not all can handle a chef in the kitchen, but the three of us are like magic. Though we may be small in number, we can handle the work-load of a brigade.
The work week was tough, but I’m so very proud of the team. I’m proud of Tara, the most amazing marketer I’ve ever worked with, proud of Sales in their abilities to dig into their customer’s brain and pull out the projects and have success, proud of the leadership team that supports us, provides strategy and help on a continual basis, and extremely proud that our President and CEO, Jay Brigham, continues to invest in our talents and mission to continue to push innovation and make the impossible, possible! So it is my honor, I raise my usual fancy cocktail (Tart Lady: Fresh tart lemonade + Alto’s Resposado Tequila + lime + ice) to the team of Pecan Deluxe Candy, and also to the city of Chicago—until next time…
-Chef Kami R. Smith