Bako Sweet Potatoes and Longo's Chef Robert Mutch Big Hit at CPMA 2017
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
TORONTO, ON - Sweet potatoes aren’t just for Thanksgiving anymore, as Chef Robert Mutch of Longo's and the Country Sweet Produce team showed hungry attendees at the record-breaking CPMA last week.
I followed my stomach to the crowded Bako Sweet booth, where Chef Mutch was making magic with the company’s ready-to-eat, value-added sweet spuds, a microwave, and a steamer bag.
“People loved Chef Robert’s samples. They enjoyed the amount of flavor and freshness; it was a light snack they could enjoy while walking the floor,” Marketing and Specialty Sales Manager Gina Pettit shared with me. “All the tasty creations were made in the microwave with our steamer bag, and everyone was surprised at how simple and easy it was to whip up each recipe.”
You can count me amongst them. The first sample I managed to get my hands on was the sweet potato salad; a tasty twist that seemed to marry traditional fruit and potato salads together for a healthy treat. Then there were the beautifully simple mashed sweet potatoes, which were such a hit they seemed to be scooped up as soon as they hit Bako Sweet’s wicker platters.
Finally, there was a savory option that had my taste buds tingling. Sweet potato hash, mixed with greens for a savory punch, made for a great course option I admittedly came back to for seconds. And, Gina told me, I was far from the only one.
“It was great to see that we had a number of returning visitors. We were happy to send people home with a bag to try for themselves, and we definitely ran out of recipe cards by the end of the show,” she said.
While retailers, foodservice operators, and curious consumers stopped in to have a try, company President Michael Valpredo shared on the versatility and benefits that have been rocking the category, including the ability to be substituted for heavier vegetables and food items, extreme levels of vitamins E and C, high fiber, potassium, and iron.
My favorite part of attending a show is being able to see first-hand traditional veg lovers inspired and new ones made. I constantly heard sweet potato fans saying, “I never knew how much you could do with these,” as well as several walking away with a newfound appreciation for sweet potatoes.
Needless to say, I left with a few recipe cards of my own, plus a Single Sweet or two, and I can tell you I’ll be using them in more than just a pie.