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Regional independent Brookshire Grocery Co. (BGC) has hired three key members of the food service staff for its new Fresh by Brookshire’s concept to develop menus, explore product lines, and recruit support staff for the store that will open in the first quarter of 2011.
Casey Shanower will be the executive chef, Michael Brady will be the chef de cuisine, and Jennifer Kuhn will round out the group as pastry chef. The three new hires together bring dozens of years of experience in the food service industry to Fresh.
“Fresh will be offering very unique prepared foods products,” said Rick Rayford, BGC president and CEO. “Casey, Michael, and Jennifer represent a commitment to high standards. They are sure to amaze and delight Fresh customers with their culinary creations.”
Shanower, who got his start in the food business in Bloomington, Ind, has worked in the high-end restaurant industry in such cities as San Francisco, Portland, Austin, and Dallas, where he was most recently the executive chef at a premium specialty grocery store in Plano. His goal is to offer Fresh customers delicious prepared meals that are better-than-restaurant quality, more affordable, and can be enjoyed in the comfort of their own homes. “Being involved in a brand new concept from the ground up is a dream come true for me,” said Shanower. “I can’t wait for our customers to experience the wonders we have in store.”
One of Louisiana Cookin’ magazine’s “Chefs to Watch 2010,” Fresh chef de cuisine Brady has travelled the world refining his culinary skills. A soccer star in high school in Shreveport, La., Brady gave up athletic scholarship offers to attend culinary school. After working in several restaurants in Charleston, S.C. – and even spending a great deal of time on a vineyard in France – he returned to Shreveport and opened the Wine Country Bistro and Bottle Shop with his brother before coming to Tyler to join the team at Fresh.
“I love east Texas and can’t wait to introduce everyone to our Fresh cuisine,” said Brady. “Many great chefs have generously influenced my life and my culinary point of view. I’m looking forward to ‘paying it forward’ by sharing my favorite dishes and techniques with people of the area.”
Pastry chef, Kuhn, with 16 years of experience as a pastry chef, attended culinary school at the Art Institute of Dallas and has spent most of her career in the Tyler area, mastering the art of pastry. She promises to offer customers a mix of popular desserts with her own Fresh spin, and some personal specialties, like banana mousse brownies. Everything, from the ganoshes and glazes to the crème brulees and cakes featuring Italian buttercream icing, will be made fresh daily from the best ingredients available, according to the grocer.
“Baking is my creative outlet and what I love to do, and Fresh customers are going to have a one-of-a-kind experience when they enter our shop,” said Kuhn. “If I haven’t provided a ‘wow’ factor to shoppers, then I haven’t done my job.”
Construction on the 55,000-square foot Fresh by Brookshire’s store began in February and the company plans to open the new store in early 2011. The store will feature a coffee/gelato bar, an artisan bakery, organic foods, bulk foods, expanded health and wellness items, along with a pharmacy and the more traditional grocery items and staples. In addition, up to 100 fresh food offerings a day – from gourmet “comfort food” to a full burrito and taco bar, a sandwich bar, and a soup and salad bar – will be prepared daily on site, encouraging customers to visit the store frequently for chef-prepared meals not found at a traditional grocery store.
Tyler, Texas-based BGC operates more than 150 supermarkets in Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas under the banners of Brookshire’s Food & Pharmacy, Super 1 Foods & Discount Pharmacy, Olé Foods, and ALPS (Always Low Price Store).