Meet Jolene Satre
3 years ago

Meet Jolene Satre — L&B FoodE Expert Extraordinaire

If you shop at the Lunds & Byerlys Chanhassen, you’ve probably met Jolene Satre, our FoodE Expert extraordinaire. She’s the one wearing a green chef coat and handing out the samples — along with tips for a last-minute appetizer, for a fantastic wine pairing, and this past week, for troubleshooting your way out of all sorts of turkey-roasting mishaps.

Jolene joined the FoodE Expert team in 2015, and talking with her, you get the feeling she’s got a map of the store — every aisle, every product — hardwired in her brain. Yet she demurely calls herself the faux FoodE. “We have so many phenomenal experts in the store,” she says. “There are people who’ve owned restaurants, bakeries and catering companies, and I’m just a mom who cooked for her family, so I call myself the faux FoodE.”

In part, the title is a nod to her easy approach to food. “One of my favorite customers recently said, ‘What’s just a regular, everyday appetizer for you,’ and I told her reduced fat Club Crackers and Sartori Montamore cheddar,” Jolene laughs. “Sometimes my faux-ness works for me because it makes people more comfortable.”

When it comes to cooking, even a FoodE Expert loves convenience
As a home cook and a FoodE Expert, Jolene leans on easy, fast and convenient, perhaps even more so now than when she was raising a family. Back then convenience foods were full of fat and salt. “Now, I walk the floor at Lunds & Byerlys, there are loads of healthy convenience products that are low in sugar, salt, and carbs and high in nutrients,” she says. “I’m always going to default to those foods. None of us have enough time, and spending more time with your family, having more time for yourself, that’s what’s important.”

Her favorite Lunds & Byerlys convenience food? “Our spiralized and riced veggies,” she says, without missing a beat. “They’re great for people eating keto or just trying to get more veggies into their diet, and they come fresh or frozen, so you don’t have to use it all in one meal.”

She recommends warming up the riced cauliflower and tossing it with chunks of chicken and L&B Yellow Curry Sauce. “You should probably pair it with naan, but I always go with a slice of artisan walnut cranberry bread toast,” she laughs. “It’s not remotely Indian, but I just love it so — I’m going to go to my grave with a slice of that bread in my hand. All you people giving up carbs, I’ll take yours too!”

Clearly, Jolene genuinely enjoys cooking and eating. Like so many of us, her earliest teachers were her mother and grandmother: “I just love baking so much, and I still make my grandmother’s cherry pie.”

A FoodE Expert’s job is diverse — from food demos to community events
One of the things Jolene loves about being a Lunds & Byerlys FoodE Expert is the ongoing culinary education. Every month, vendors visit for day-long training sessions with the FoodE Expert team. “They come in with such energy and enthusiasm, it’s wonderful to have them tell us about a product or an ingredient,” she says. “It also helps us build those relationships so we can have them back for demonstrations, or reach out to them with customer questions.”

The FoodE Expert team also spends a lot of time in the community, taking educational field trips out to meet the makers and producers Lunds & Byerlys partners with locally. Jolene recently spent a day on an organic farm — if you see her, be sure to ask about how non-arable land can be used to support our wild bee populations.

Of course, she learns a lot from just being at Lunds & Byerlys every day, fielding phone calls and talking to folks in the aisle. If a customer has a question she can’t answer, she’ll consult one of our chefs or a fellow FoodE Expert — there’s one at every store. “Someone always knows the answer, and I learn so much in the process.”

As a FoodE Expert, Jolene finds herself getting involved in all sorts of projects, from stringing holiday lights to setting up Meet the Maker events in the store. The FoodE Expert team also spends a lot of time out in the community with their neighbors, and the Lunds & Byerlys Boo Blast — which attracts more than 700 kids each year — is one of Jolene’s favorite events. “We create a safe place for the kids to trick-or-treat with candy stations, face painters and a DJ,” she says. “The kids dance around, it really is a blast.”

Being a FoodE Expert is a little like being a hairdresser
Jolene says the most joyful part of her day is talking with customers in the store. “It’s always best when it becomes a back-and-forth,” she says. “It’s like being a hairdresser or bartender — people open up in our conversations about food, and getting to know them enriches my life. I learn from them, I laugh with them, and it’s such a big part of this job, in a good way, and in a way I never would have guessed. It’s a privilege.”

“I’m always amazed when I go to other grocery stores and don’t get those warm fuzzies,” she adds. “I hope every person that comes to Lunds & Byerlys leaves happier, wanting to come back and feeling like we care. We do! To have a job here this long and see how real that is — it’s been wonderful.”