DORAL, FL- IMUSA USA’s chef program has shifted into full gear with the four spokesperson chefs in the program making appearances across the country in honor of Hispanic Heritage month, which began September 15. The chef program is comprised of Latin cookbook authors, reality TV stars and other “foodies” who will create recipes, cooking ideas, tips and additional content relevant to Latino cooks as well as cooks interested in experiencing the flavors and passions of virtually all Latin cuisines. Currently involved with the program are Chef Ana Garcia, the owner and operator of La Villa Bonita Cooking School and Culinary Hotel in Tepoztlan, Mexico; Hell’s Kitchen finalist Elsie Ramos; Cuban cookbook author Ana Quincoces and television personality and professional chef George Duran. The chef program has launched a nationwide tour in celebration of Hispanic Heritage month and will visit retailers in major cities across the country demonstrating Latin dishes with a twist. The chefs and IMUSA USA will be working with Macy’s stores on assortments and placement of the IMUSA products. “We’ll be putting it where Hispanic and non-Hispanic shoppers alike can see the demos and taste food, and get familiar with the product,” said Manny Gaunaurd, IMUSA’s president. Beyond the Hispanic heritage month demonstrations, each chef is featured in promotions and demonstrations across the country as well as online and on IMUSA packaging, demonstrating delicious recipes from each individual’s country of origin.
According to Gaunaurd, the program evolved as a way to help families of all cultures create easy meal solutions using IMUSA cookware. “We wanted to give consumers an additional resource for entertaining or just whipping up something for dinner,” Gaunaurd said. “As we started to put together ideas, we decided to take it a step further, and not just include authentic, traditional Latin dishes that were common in households, but to have our products cook traditional American as well as fusion dishes and comfort food that would resonate with all consumers.” Beginning next year, all IMUSA products will include recipe cards from the chefs and the company also plans to develop a cookbook featuring all of the chefs’ creations. “Delivering delicious meal solutions is another added value the IMUSA customer enjoys when choosing our cookware and kitchen accessories,” Gaunaurd said. Each chef was carefully selected for what they could add to the brand, he explained, and their recipes are tested multiple times on a variety of cooking surfaces to ensure the best results and a widespread appeal. “We wanted the chefs to approach cooking as we do our business- tailored, customized, and appealing not only to the food and culture of a specific Hispanic area, but also to cross over into mainstream America,” Gaunaurd said. “Whether the chef was from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela or Cuba, we wanted them to understand traditional, authentic meal preparation but add value and create delicious recipes that can translate into the American comfort food segment. We wanted it to be one-size-fits-all while retaining its origins.” In choosing chefs to participate, it was essential that they be bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. They also had to love cooking with IMUSA products, Gaunaurd said. “We want to make sure they understand the product, know the product, have handled the product, and that is has some importance to them when they’re preparing meals.” The company’s goal with this project, said Gaunaurd, is to add value to its product and to offer its consumers and retailers the opportunity to understand the products better, and expand the products’ applications and company’s reputation. “We want them to know they can come to us and use our products and resources whether they’re making pancakes or tamales,” Gaunaurd said. The program also gives retailers the opportunity to increase its sales in the consumer who didn’t have an understanding of traditional Hispanic cookware pieces. “We want consumers to understand that the products can be used beyond their traditional applications, and the demos give them an opportunity to see that,” Gaunaurd said.