Meet our research and development chef, Samantha!
From marketing specialist to a private chef, food blogger, and recipe developer, Samantha joined Revolution Foods with a vast background in making delicious food. We sat down with Samantha, our research and development chef, to learn about her culinary journey, what led her to Revolution Foods, and what new meals she’s creating for students to enjoy this year!
Tell us about your culinary journey.
I began my career in marketing at a tech startup in Silicon Valley. I enjoyed marketing, but unfortunately, the company went under. While I was job searching, I tried to figure out if I wanted to stay in marketing or pursue one of my passions. I decided to go with my gut and took a leap of faith by leaving the marketing world in hopes of becoming a chef. I enrolled at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco – they have a rigorous 15-month associates’ program that was hands-on and covered all aspects of cooking – from butchering to baking bread, I learned everything!
After culinary school, I became a recipe tester at a company that tested recipes for companies like General Mills, Taco Bell, and Carl’s Junior. This opportunity gave me experience working in the test kitchen, tweaking recipes, and collecting qualitative and quantitative data for my food.
After I had my son, I realized that I needed a change, so I decided to become a private chef. I made two-course vegetarian meals for a few families and enjoyed the flexibility of creating and designing the menu. I also ran cooking classes on the side and eventually launched my cooking blog. Being a private chef was great, but after seven years, I was ready for a change.
How did you find out about Revolution Foods?
I randomly saw a Revolution Foods truck drive by one day, and I was curious about the company, so I looked them up online. Their meaningful mission of providing great tasting, healthy meals to students in at-risk communities appealed to me. When I saw that Revolution Foods had a position available for a sous chef, I saw it as an opportunity to use my skills to make a difference. I applied right away! After a couple of months I was promoted to being the research and development chef.
What’s your day to day like?
I evaluate the ingredients we currently use in our meals, and I come up with ways to combine different pairings to develop new, exciting meals for students. For example, I developed an Asian noodle bowl that used our existing spaghetti noodles and two of our Asian-inspired sauces and popcorn chicken. I was proud of the meal because it used existing ingredients that we have already screened and approved under our strict clean label standards in a new and unique way that tasted authentic and approachable for students.
What do you love about working at Revolution Foods?
I love being able to make a difference in students’ lives by providing nutritious meals for students who don’t always have access to healthy, affordable meals. I also love working with my team – we are a dynamic group, and we all come from a variety of sectors in the culinary world.
What’s challenging about your job?
The hardest part is making meals kids love that also meet our nutritional guidelines – it’s a challenge, but it’s very gratifying. Take our classic spaghetti and meatballs for example: when you try our spaghetti and meatballs, it looks and tastes like the traditional, delicious spaghetti and meatballs that you’re used to, but when you look at the nutritional information, you realize that this is far healthier than a typical plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Our version has whole grain-rich spaghetti, Italian-style meatballs made with USDA choice beef, and marinara sauce made with crushed tomatoes and extra-virgin olive oil.
What meals are you making that you’re excited to release?
There are a lot of exciting things in the works – right now I’m excited about our new vegetarian salads that are coming soon! We are also working on an overnight oats recipe that is sure to be an instant hit with the students.
Our team of high-caliber chefs are passionate about making healthy meals that taste great. If you’re looking for a food revamp for your school, contact us to learn more about our meal platform options.