— 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. ••