Lipman Family Farms' Chef Wil Wilbur to Present at SEPC's Southern Exposure
- by Jordan Okumura
IMMOKALEE, FL - What’s a chef without fresh ingredients? And what are fresh ingredients without the culinary artists who put them to work? Chef Wil Wilbur, Lipman Family Farms’ Manager of Culinary Development, is one such culinary artist. Exhibiting his fresh ingredient prowess, he will be attending the Southeast Produce Council’s (SEPC) Southern Exposure 2020 event at the Tampa Convention Center alongside the company’s dynamic sales group.
“I would like to provide inspiration for thinking outside of the box,” said Chef Wil, who has vast experience as a research chef, focusing on innovation and product development for both foodservice and grocery retail. “I want to spend time with the products and the flavors being developed.”
Chef Wil, a highly accomplished culinary and food science professional who is developing a culinary program for Lipman, will be engaging with customers at the event and absorbing market trends to enhance Lipman’s array of value-added products. According to a press release, an area of emphasis will be on the company’s fresh-cut produce, which many of Lipman’s customers use for meals on a regular basis.
“I have an exciting opportunity to learn the produce side of food, and with vegetables becoming more ‘center of plate,’ I think it opens opportunities for us as a vertically-integrated, farm-to-table company to provide menu solutions in restaurants, grocery stores, and at home,” he commented.
Heading into the Tampa event, Chef Wil gave some of his insight on his perspectives as a newly hired Culinary Development Manager. Aside from his excitement for working in produce, he detailed new trends in development.
“Meat is being pushed to the side of the plate. Fruits and vegetables are taking over the center of the plate in restaurants as well as at home,” Chef Wilbur explained. “Through this evolution, people are now looking for ways to have a bold and flavorful meal that is vegetable focused, not just vegetarian or vegan, but vegetable focused.”
With years of culinary expertise in his back pocket, Chef Wilbur is leveraging his experience to cultivate Lipman and fresh produce.
“I have knowledge of flavor development, packaging, full menu builds, and back-of-house operations in the industry. I have also worked extensively with grocery/retail sectors on development of successful products from take-home meals and deli case items to what will accompany our produce in the packaging on store shelves,” he added.
In having such vast experience, he brings a unique kind of excitement to the fresh produce industry.
“Being able to build a culinary program from the ground up. Implementing a program which will grow who we are, not just tomatoes (even though we produce some really freakin’ good tomatoes), but as a full solutions expert from a culinary and innovation standpoint all the way down to all the products that we are growing at our farms,” Chef Wilbur said.
At the show, Lipman will have on display its field-grown products, including its popular Crimson tomatoes, a variety of greenhouse offerings under the Suntastic brand, organic offerings under the Grown True brand, and fresh-cut produce in new packaged options.
“My emphasis as the chef will be to make myself available, meet customers in person, and offer our value and innovation,” he concluded.
Be sure to swing by and greet Chef Wil Wilbur at SEPC’s Southern Exposure!