How to become a R&D Chef: the inside scoop
Celebrating his 10-year professional jubilee at Crop's, R&D Chef Yannick Hovelaque shares a glimpse of his life with us. He dives into the kitchen and serves us the inside scoop of R&D in the frozen food industry.
“The most exciting part of being a R&D Chef is the creative process from briefing to final product. We listen to our customer’s vision, wishes and taste preferences, and select the finest ingredients from our terroirs all around the globe to create the perfect dish. It feels very special to find your custom-made developments in supermarkets, restaurants or coffee bars.
The past ten years, we have developed very interesting fruit- and vegetable recipes. For instance, our Green Reviver. This was the first smoothie of our range to contain vegetables. Our fruit quiche chunks were another revolutionary development. The fruit is coated with eggs, crème, and chocolate, so all you need to do, is adding the fruit chunks on puff pastry and popping your baking tray in the oven. Quick, easy, and delicious. To me, the most challenging recipe so far is our porridge bowl. We needed to experiment with our ingredients and production line to develop a medium thick porridge, but the consistency of oats changes when exposed to liquids and time, so planning and timing is crucial. Frozen fruit is a quite complex ingredient, but to me, that makes it more fascinating to work with.
Nowadays, we are experiencing some interesting trends in the food industry. Sustainability and health awareness remain very important factors. Our job is to guard those values while developing new recipes. Creating delicious, healthy, and sustainable dishes while remaining cost-efficient is a challenge that I am willing to take on. On the other hand, I think the most fun challenges are street food and newstalgia. I love to experiment with exotic and exquisite flavours and to reinvent classic dishes. In the coming weeks and months, we will release new recipes, so stay tuned [winks].
In short, to succeed as a R&D Chef, you need to check four boxes. You need to be fascinated by food, you need to have an extensive knowledge of industrial food production, you need to understand your customers and the market, and you need to keep up with market-related trends.”