Kelly the Culinarian: Food find: Chef Selections

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Food find: Chef Selections

When I was at Inside Tucson Business, I did this profile of Chef Selections. This Tucson-based company brings specialty food products and mixes to homes across America using a multi-level marketing strategy. That means essentially they recruit consultants to sell their products much like Mary Kay or Avon representatives do.
Chef Selections specializes in finding products from small manufacturers who are often families that have pooled together some cash to bring a family recipe to market. The problem is, it takes millions of dollars to market a product even regionally, as my article explains. With this line of products, it allows smaller manufacturers to appeal to a nation-wide audience without plunking down $5 million to get on Kroger's shelves. The consumer also gets a better product because these are usually recipes these little companies have put their heart and soul into.

So on to the products. I got a three-pack of products, which included the RaspBerried Treasure Dip, Aunt Myra's Seasoning in pepperoni and Chipotle Potato Soup.
First, here's the seasoning mix. This is the product that started the whole business, as you can read in the article. Essentially, you mix the seasoning with one and a half pounds of ground meat (I used a combination of pork and beef, but you could also use chicken, turkey or game). You make it into a log, wrap in in foil and refrigerate it overnight. Then, cook it for 45 minutes and refrigerate it again to make cold cuts sans preservatives, chemicals or other additives. It's quite delicious and economical. The spices are delicious and the end product is great on sandwiches or with crackers and cheese or omlets ... there are many options.

Alas, I don't have a photo of the RaspBerried Dip, but you mix the packet with 12 ounces of cream cheese, sour cream or plain yogurt and refrigerate overnight. This creates a pink dip with bits of raspberries, onions, sugar and spices that's good on fruit and chips. I tried it mixes with sour cream and cream cheese and found the sour cream mixture to be better.

Finally, there's the Chipotle Potato soup. You mix it with eight ounces of boiling water and behold, a completely vegetarian soup with chunks of real potato, celery and seasoning. I topped it with some ground peppers from Flavorbank. I found the soup to have a thick, chunky consistency and a nice kick. The spice lingered in the back of my throat and the soup itself was quite satisfying for the little amount that was given.

All in all, the company's products are pretty standard but quite delicious. They allow the average, busy American family to get some meals to the table in a pinch. I certainly wouldn't think of this as a daily go-to, but it gives consumers options. Certainly any of their products are better than soup out of a can or other packaged products. If you ever get invited to a Chef Selections party, I'd say give it a try. You're bound to sample some tasty dishes at the shin dig and the prices for their products aren't bad for the quality you're getting because they are mostly family recipes from small manufacturers.


East Meets West Kitchen said...

The raspberry with onions, sugar and spices sound interesting, and I have yet to hear of Chef Selections. Will be on a lookout for them at my next shin dig.

daphne said...

The treasured dip idea sounds good. What got me is your description of the spices. Looks yummy...

Saju said...

Interesting writeup. Chipotle Potato soup looks very tasty.

A Mature Student said...

Two dishes I have not heard of.

Over here, we have raspberries salad dressing which is absolutely delicious but have to be careful it doesn't splash all over your clothes. :)

Chipotle Potato soup must be a very American soup. I must do some research on this.

Swaruchy said...

Hey Kelly....U got interesting products......Looks like they turned out to be hits dear :-)
The Chipotle potato soup is interesting :-)