Ingredients matter. Plant-based, seasonal and local ingredient meals do a body and the community good. Food With Thought highlights food artisans who are committed to producing authentic exceptional food that is good for you and produced with the community and environment in mind.
Today’s feature is Flavor Bombs. Created by Goddess Gourmet, Chef Giovannina Bellino, Flavor Bombs are fresh frozen, gluten-free, recipe-ready cooking bases that are used to flavor dishes either at the start of cooking or as a finishing flourish. They come in five flavors — Basil, Sage, Rosemary, Mirepoix and Soffrito, and they’re wildly useful.You can use Flavor Bombs to start or finish a dish. The aromatics and vegetables in Flavor Bombs are slowly sautéed until caramelized and golden, adding the most savory taste to your recipes.
What was life like before you started Flavor Bombs?
Life before Flavor Bombs was simpler but much less exciting and interesting. As an empty nester, I needed something to keep me busy and inspired. I had always dabbled in the food world while raising my family. I did some catering and private chef work. There were weekends and holidays involved with that so I moved on before the work became overwhelming with a family. I always loved feeding people, so I knew I would continue in the food world.
What’s the story behind Flavor Bombs?
Flavor Bombs literally grew from my home vegetable and herb garden. As many gardeners do, I made batches of herb pestos and froze them in ice cube trays. I loved having a cache of the “flavor bases” in my freezer as they made cooking so much quicker and easier. I would share them with friends and family and realized this could be a unique product for the marketplace.
I thought of them as little “bombs” as I would drop them into recipes, so I quickly trademarked the name Flavor Bombs. I created the web site, rented commercial kitchen space and started selling at local farmer’s markets. People loved the product; I took it to the next level with professional packaging, nutrition panels and incorporating my business, Goddess Gourmet. My goal was to bring a healthy, convenient product to the masses.
What is your food philosophy? and why?
My food philosophy is that everyone should know how to cook. Everyone should be able to feed themselves and their families. I never could understand how people can make the statement, ” I never cook” or ” I don’t cook”. I can understand ” I don’t know how to cook,” and that is one of the main reasons I created Flavor Bombs, to help people learn how to cook. There are so many tasks we perform in life and some have more benefits than others. Cooking is a task that offers such great rewards for ourselves and our loved ones.
We are so entrenched in a food culture that I believe it is overwhelming to many people. If we just look at the basic techniques of cooking, we can see that it is not as difficult as it looks. Stick with simple ingredients and a time saving, healthy product like Flavor Bombs and it can become second nature. “Cook to live”, that’s my motto.
What’s been most challenging about establishing your business?
Attempting to get into stores was the most challenging aspect of my business. It’s a situation where you are not sure which comes first, getting a distributor or getting a store to want your product. I would make appointments with store buyers and they would ask me which distributor I am with since most of them don’t work directly with the manufacturer. But, you can’t get a distributor until you have stores that will take your product. I would leave samples and they would seem interested but the follow up can be so tedious when you are doing everything else in the business. I found that a broker was the answer to this problem. There are many costs involved, as with any new business, but my passion and a great product seem to be creating the success I’ve hoped for.
What’s the most creative way you’ve seen your product used?
One of the most creative dishes I’ve seen made with Flavor Bombs was a “Smoked Fish Fritters” made for a Passover meal. A soffritto Flavor Bombs was used instead of having to peel, chop and sauté onion and garlic. This was an updated recipe instead of using gefilte fish. Very interesting! The recipe is on the Flavor Bombs Facebook page, along with many others.
How do you source your ingredients?
Flavor Bombs are made in the USA, packaging included. I use (mostly) organic herbs although it is not stated on the label since there are times they are not available due to weather conditions. I keep a very close watch on the manufacturing process and the product is made in small batches for quality control and flavor. I basically took a homestyle recipe and scaled it up for mass production. There are no preservatives or additives and the product is low sodium and gluten free.
How are you involved in the local community?
I am so busy with the business right now, but I have plans for donating Flavor Bombs to local food cooperatives and homeless shelters.
What are you most proud of regarding Flavor Bomb?
I am most proud of the fact that Flavor Bombs is now a brand in the freezer case in major supermarkets. I am proud that I am presenting the product to national chains and they are forward thinking enough to see that there is a market for it. I have a hand in creating a new niche in the marketplace, “natural frozen cooking base”.
What’s your morning ritual like?
My morning ritual starts with coffee, immediately. I am an early riser and I’m checking emails and doing paperwork by 6am. I try to hit the gym everyday after that and then I never know what will unfold. A call from my broker for a new sales meeting, sending samples to a buyer, an order from my website to ship out, an in store demo I may have to do. I love the versatility necessary as a small business owner.
What’s next for Flavor Bomb?
I plan to create new Flavor Bomb blends and eventually an international line of cooking bases. I think I may create a line of Flavor Bomb meals because when I demo in the stores with my potatoes, chicken, sauces and other dishes made with the product, everyone asks me if I can sell them the finished dishes. I explain how easy it is to recreate the meals at home, and they do buy the product for that but there is always the person who “just doesn’t cook” but wants that dish I created!
How can people get a hold of and order Flavor Bombs?
They can be purchased at www.flavorbombs.net. I also update the stores on the website, continually.
That’s a wrap for today’s episode of Food With Thought. If you or someone you know is a vegetarian food artisan or specialty food creator and want to share your story on how and why you source locally and responsibly produce your products email me or call me at (916) 287-1432 and find out how you can be featured on Food With Thought.