Meet our experts: Senior Executive Chef Tim Tesch
Our impressive team of research and development chefs is always working to create delicious, unique dishes you’ll want on your plate. One of their latest projects: Create extraordinary salads that taste and look great. Let Tim Tesch, our senior executive chef, tell you about the process.
Q: What do you do at Lunds & Byerlys?
A: I am the senior executive chef of research and development with a focus on fresh deli products. What that long title means is that I create new and exciting items for our delis. I work with a team of executive chefs whose responsibility is to create new, innovative and delicious prepared foods.
Q: How long have you been at Lunds & Byerlys?
A: I started with Byerly’s in 1996 as the kitchen manager to help open the Eagan store. In 1997, when the two brands came together, I became the back-of-the-house trainer to help ease that transition. I eventually became the deli executive chef. In 2006, I moved into the role I hold today.
Q: About a year ago we debuted several new deli salads – how were they created?
A: Our goal was to deliver extraordinary salads that not only have the usual wholesome and pure qualities that many people look for when they reach for a salad, but also to create salads that surprise and delight the senses with unique fresh herbs, grains, beans, vegetables and fruits.
Our culinary team works with directors to determine what products they would like to see and then we take that idea and create a concept. The concept then goes through a thorough set of development stages to ensure the concept can be made into a final product that will be prepared the same way each and every time for our customers’ enjoyment. On average, our development team goes through this in-depth process for more than 160 new items per year!
Q: Do you have a favorite deli item you’ve helped create?
A: That’s a tough question since I’ve created so many items throughout the years. If I had to pick, one of my favorites is our Cherry Chicken Pasta Salad. I never would have imagined this salad would become so popular – so much so, in fact, it is our number one salad with sales even exceeding our Signature Potato Salad!
Q: Where do your new ideas come from?
A: There are a variety of ways in which we approach new items. Our team of chefs goes out to food shows all around the country as well as reading dozens of trade publications, which gives us ideas about food trends and new ingredients. Sometimes we’ll base an entire recipe around a new, unique ingredient that really stands out. We also closely monitor the east and west coasts knowing that what’s trending on the coasts won’t get to us, in the Midwest, for about four or five years.
Q: What are some current trends you’re seeing?
A: Some of the trends I’ve come across lately have to do with natural fat and animal derived fat like real butters, chicken fat and full fat yogurts. Other key trends I’m seeing is the ever-increasing search for non-GMO foods and local products like meat. We’re also seeing harissa replacing Sriracha, millet replacing quinoa, and, of course, anything pickled.