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PaperChef is a Toronto-based company founded in 2010 as a subsidiary of Culinary Papers and McNairn Packaging, a family business that has been making paper products for the food industry since 1882. The company is committed to bringing “The Art of Cooking with Parchment” to North America and the globe. The PaperChef line of products includes parchment rolls, parchment cooking bags and parchment baking cups.
MO: Can you talk about some of your products and the advantages of using culinary parchment?
Scott: PaperChef started with a focus on simplicity with high-quality. We initially launched with the simple multi-purpose paper roll and three different sizes of baking cups, which ended up receiving the coveted sofi Award for best Non-Specialty Food Item at the 2010 National Association of Specialty Food (NASFT) Summer Fancy Food Show. In 2011, we came out with an additional product which was influenced by a time honored cooking technique called “en papillote.” It’s a simple technique that allows the everyday person to put all of their favorite ingredients into a bag, bake for 20-30 minutes and come out with a full meal. Our pre-folded parchment cooking bags also swept the Non-Specialty category again and ended up taking the Gold NASFT sofi Award that year. This year, we launched two new specialty baking cups that have once again swept the Non-Specialty Food Item with another Gold sofi Award.
We have broken into the industry by creating a high-quality product that was no longer readily available to a novice cook. Many people have come to using non-compostable or recyclable items such as plastics and aluminum foil in daily use. We have provided them with an eco-friendly and healthier alternative, just like their parents and grandparents used many years ago with a great, new and versatile twists.
MO: Cooking with parchment sounds a bit intimidating to a novice cook. What would you recommend as a good starting point for experimentation with your products?
Scott: Remembering that it is a paper product is definitely my top piece of advice for the novice cook. Our parchment can withstand up to 425 degrees without burning and can even be used on the grill away from direct flames. It is extremely versatile and can replace aluminum foils in most techniques. Like any kitchen utensil, it might take a few tries before you perfect it, but it is an easy change and also requires less fats and oils in baking especially!
MO: What are some trends in the culinary industry that you’re excited about?
Scott: Portion control and cupcakes! People are loving single serve portions in response to their busy lifestyles. They can make a batch of healthy muffins or even full meals in our beautiful baking cups, freeze them and take them out to have a five star meal! Our parchment “en papillote” bags even allow you to come home, toss ingredients in, change or work out for 20 minutes and come back to a full meal right out of the oven with minimal effort.
MO: Can you expand on why you are so committed to participating in the Food Space and Food Communities across North America?
Scott: Food brings people together and we love good food. Our products are meant for the at home chef, to elevate their cooking experience and share it with the people they care about most. Making their pot luck parties tastier and maybe even having an “en papillote” pot luck station. Everyone brings an ingredient, tosses it in their bag, put them all in the oven at once and everyone celebrates by opening their meal with excitement for the end product.
MO: What’s one marketing strategy that’s really worked well for you?
Scott: Honesty and simplicity. Our packaging is beautiful and it showcases the thing that is most important to us. No matter how excellent your product is, the ingredients you put into it, are just as, if not more important than the capability of the product. We have achieved FSC certification and sustainability is also one of our biggest accomplishments. We make products that encourage bringing people together and sharing their time together over a wonderfully cooked, home meal.
MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
Scott: Our new product development is always one of the most exciting things on the horizon for us. We spend a lot of time considering which products would be best utilized in the daily kitchen with our best consumer feedback.