Many celebrity chefs rush to paste their name on a product line to cash in on their popularity.
What is the key to a successful product launch?
Shelf space. Getting a new pasta sauce, spice line, BBQ sauce or frozen pizza into a supermarket or mega mart is a major hurdle.
But there are ways to get around the issue of shelf space.
Skip the market and go for mail order.
Chef Jet Tila of Wazuzu restaurant at the Wynn Encore Hotel in Las Vegas is introducing a new line of Asian-Fusion flash frozen meals distributed by Schwan’s Home Delivery.
Schwan’s Home Service, Inc. is America’s largest direct-to-home food delivery business, marketing and distributing approximately 400 budget friendly frozen food solutions to millions of customers in the 48 states. Our frozen specialties include the company’s signature ice cream, pizza, choice meats, seafood, fruits and vegetables, side dishes, breakfast items, seasonal favorites and desserts.
Super Chef and two tasters sampled Chef Jet‘s new dishes, which arrived in a styrofoam container, still frozen solid.
All the dishes come in portions enough for two and they can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.
A Thai Chicken Coconut Soup was in a frozen pouch and needed only to be heated in a microwave. It was tangy and hot, and spicy enough for everyone.
Cantonese Steamed Cod with Ginger and Soy and Salmon Teriyaki were also prepared in the microwavable and then a separate sauce packet is poured over the dish and came with a variety of vegetables. Both contained rice that becomes a bit mushy, but the fish portions are fresh tasting and firm.
Chicken Lo Mein and Drunken Noodles are both prepared on the stove, sautéing the ingredients – chicken, vegetables, and rice noodles – and then adding a separate sauce packet.
If you are prepare a full meal, you’ll need to wait for each dish to cook in the microwave, and meanwhile prepare the noodle dishes on the stove.
The result is definitely better then run of the mill take-out, but you have to be good at juggling the different cooking times.
What does make sense is that these are dishes that can be kept in the freezer for emergencies – when a warmed up can of soup or some pasta won’t do.
But does it make sense for a chef?
Presumably, customers who have been to his restaurant will be made aware of the frozen version of his dishes. But, as in the case of other frozen chef-branded products like Wolfgang Puck’s pizzas, customers need to keep in mind that frozen foods that are mass prepared can never come close to restaurant dishes.
Managing expectations is the key.
Why can’t you microwave the schwan’s Lomein?