Good Taste

Guests at the Hy­att Re­gency sampled 25 new fla­vors in a vari­ety of foods. MARIA POUCH­NIKOVA / TIMES PHOTO

— Dav­id Mi­chael & Co. hosts a classy af­fair to show off some of its fla­vor­ful cre­ations.


The food sci­ent­ists, fla­vor chem­ists, col­or en­gin­eers, chefs and tech­ni­cians at Far North­east-based Dav­id Mi­chael & Co. got to show off their cre­ations last week at the com­pany’s ninth In­nov­a­tion Road­show.

The April 25 event took place on the second floor of the Hy­att Re­gency at Penn’s Land­ing and at­trac­ted about 250 people from 75 glob­al com­pan­ies that are cur­rent and pro­spect­ive Dav­id Mi­chael cli­ents.

The cre­ations in­cluded chick­en pot pie nug­gets, ba­con-fros­ted filet mignon, mango straw­berry chia seed pud­ding and fried onion cup­cakes.

“It takes a whole year to cre­ate a product,” said Steve Wil­bur, vice pres­id­ent of mar­ket­ing for Dav­id Mi­chael and a 25-year vet­er­an of the com­pany. “We do this every day. This is what we do. This brings it all to­geth­er. We get to show our cre­ativ­ity and in­nov­at­ive­ness.”

The Road­show was the com­pany’s ninth in Phil­adelphia, and there are tent­at­ive plans to take it on the road.

The tab­letop tast­ing format, with fla­vor chem­ists dressed in lab coats, show­cased emer­ging trends in the food and bever­age in­dustry. The event also in­cluded present­a­tions on De­liv­er­ing In­dul­gence in Health Con­scious Products and How to Dif­fer­en­ti­ate Your Product By Adding a Twist to the Fa­mil­i­ar.

Dav­id Mi­chael & Co. formed in 1896 in At­lantic City.

The com­pany re­lo­cated to Phil­adelphia in the early 1900s. It moved from D Street and Erie Av­en­ue to 10801 Dec­atur Road in 1968, and that’s been the com­pany’s glob­al headquar­ters ever since. There are also headquar­ters in Mex­ico, France and China, along with a sales of­fice in Chica­go and a man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Cali­for­nia.

Skip Rosskam, the com­pany’s pres­id­ent and chief op­er­at­ing of­ficer, said the goal of the Road­show is to “feed” ideas to cli­ents in the form of products that have great fla­vor, col­or and tex­ture.

Rosskam, who has been with the com­pany since 1978, said the culin­ary pro­fes­sion­als de­vel­op a food they are pas­sion­ate about, and their cre­ations go through an in­tern­al com­mit­tee for ap­prov­al.

“This is their com­ing-out party,” he said. “It’s all about be­ing cre­at­ive and in­nov­at­ive. It’s our sig­na­ture. It stands for our brand.”

The cli­ents seemed to ap­prove of the of­fer­ings.

James Tonkin, at­tend­ing his first Road­show, is founder and pres­id­ent of Healthy Brand Build­ers, based in Scott­s­dale, Ar­iz. He spe­cial­izes in low-cal­or­ie and no-cal­or­ie products, and re­com­mends con­sum­ing small por­tions when tast­ing high­er-cal­or­ie food and drinks.

One of the Road­show’s items that caught his at­ten­tion was hot chocol­ate with a marsh­mal­low foam.

“It has an in­cred­ibly rich taste,” he said.

The Dav­id Mi­chael rep­res­ent­at­ives were proud of their cre­ations.

Dor­ine Rodrig­uez, the France-based ap­plic­a­tion man­ager for fla­vors and col­ors, show­cased Spec­u­loos Flavored Ice Cream and Dairy Cof­fee Cream­er. Spec­u­loos cook­ies are a fa­vor­ite ac­com­pani­ment to cof­fee in Bel­gi­um and oth­er parts of Europe.

“In the United States, it is not known, but we think it can be­come pop­u­lar,” said Rodrig­uez, who was as­sisted at the Road­show by pi­lot plant tech­no­lo­gist Ry­an Knapp.

Fla­vor tech­ni­cian Aman­da Prudente, who de­scribes her­self as a “huge can­noli fan,” came up with three non-al­co­hol­ic can­noli cor­di­als: a sweet Cin­na­mon Am­ar­etto, a light Basil Li­mon­cello and a rich Mint Grand Marni­er.

“They’re all very dif­fer­ent. I think they’re all good. They’re go­ing over really well,” Prudente said.

Seni­or food tech­no­lo­gist Peggy Pel­lichero cre­ated a “Some Like It Hot” Crème Car­a­mel Ice Cream. It morphs from a tra­di­tion­al cold ice cream to a hot cus­tard, with a car­a­mel and rum sauce, after be­ing mi­crowaved.

Like the oth­er con­coc­tions, Pel­lichero’s ice cream treat had to be tasted and re-tasted.

“There were many tri­als,” she said.

Kelly De­Fusco, the com­pany’s bakery and cer­eal pro­ject lead­er, de­scribed her­self as a “cup­cake girl.” She cre­ated chocol­ate chip cook­ies that are free of glu­ten, nuts, dairy and eggs; a glu­ten-free dev­il’s food cup­cake with co­coa but­ter­cream frost­ing; and a glu­ten-free lem­on cup­cake with lem­on but­ter­cream frost­ing and rasp­berry filling.

De­Fusco said the items are not only al­ler­gen-free, but are fla­vor­ful.

Pre­par­a­tion is already un­der way for the 10th an­nu­al Road­show.

“To­mor­row will be like, ‘What are we go­ing to make next year?’ ” De­Fusco said. ••

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