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BETHESDA, Md. -- Specialty food retailer Balducci's Food Lover's Market here said yesterday that it has promoted David Poran to the position of culinary director. Poran was most recently store chef of Balducci's Bethesda store.
Poran teams with corporate executive chef Christopher Harkness to oversee the culinary direction of Balducci's 10 specialty food stores, along with the day-to-day operations of each Balducci's kitchen.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Poran has worked throughout the culinary world and is the former executive chef of the National Football League headquarters. Before his tenure with the NFL, he held positions at several restaurants and hotels in New York, including Restaurant Daniel, where he was part of Daniel Boulud's opening team. Additionally, Poran co-created and produced the 2002 PBS documentary "Heat", which garnered him a James Beard award nomination, and has published his first cookbook, "The Everything Cooking for Two Cookbook" (Adams Publishing, 2005).
Said Balduccci's co-c.e.o. Peter Krieger in a statement, "We are pleased to have David and Christopher at the helm of our culinary operations, and look forward to introducing many new dishes into our prepared foods cases in the coming months."
Poran will maintain his home base in the Bethesda store's kitchen, but will travel regularly to the nine other Balducci's stores throughout Virginia; Washington, D.C.; New York; and Connecticut. Harkness will continue to be based in Manhattan, but will travel to the Bethesda headquarters regularly.
As part of Poran's introduction as culinary director, he will visit various Balducci's locations. The visits will allow him to meet with customers, offer samples of featured items in the prepared foods case, and talk about his plans for introducing new flavors into the market.
Poran's first scheduled appearance will take place June 28, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Balducci's of Chelsea, in New York City. The class will feature simple summer cooking and salads, and Poran will share some of his favorite recipes and offer samples of seasonal produce. The free event will take place on the mezzanine level of the store, in conjunction with the Greenwich Village Chamber of Commerce.
"We're looking forward to putting on a great series of demonstrations and tastings for our customers, and hope to see some new faces in the crowd as well," noted Krieger. "This is a perfect opportunity for customers to interact with David, and learn firsthand some tricks of our trade!"
Balducci's is one of the largest specialty food companies in the country, with 10 stores and four restaurants. Formerly operating under the Hay Day Country Farm Market, Sutton Place Gourmet, and Balducci's banners, the company was acquired in November 2003 by an investment group led by Bear Stearns Merchant Bank.