We’ve restarted the Foodie Diaries! Ramping up for Christmas, we think these hampers of delight are ideal for your Foodie friends. Actually anyone who eats (so everyone), but we know the hardcore Foodie would love to have the first bite of some dreamy foods that are just making their way into Hong Kong! We’ve collected the inspiring stories of the founders, seeking to dig a little and find out about how and why they are doing what they do. Today we chat with Tamara for the Foodie Start Up Diaries: Profood! “Artisanal foods from the highest quality ingredients”
Profood started in late 2011, selling several top delicacies from Spain, Italy and Croatia to Hong Kong’s luxury hotels, restaurants and bars. These products included Jamon Iberico de Bellota from Guijuelo, Anchovies from the Bay of Biscay, Parmigiano Reggiano Vacche Rosse and Truffle Cheese from the Island of Pag. In April of this year (2014) they launched their online shop to offer private customers a chance to buy the same quality products as leading chefs, yet at the same convenient prices.
So there was about three years between the inception of the business commercially to the more intimate consumer distribution. Why was this?
The founder of Profood, Thomas Bohrer, spends extensive amounts of time in Italy and Europe each year, and always brings back a suitcase (or more) or his favorite foods and finds. When his friends would come over for dinner they would always fall in love with his purchases, which he would give away, leaving him quickly empty handed. The demand was clearly there, and so he started Profood to sell these same products and keep his pantry safe from predators.
An astute fellow. What makes Profood so appealing do you suppose?
What make our products unique is the “terroir” from which they come from, and the passion, care and respect for tradition of the people who make them. We source our foods from unspoiled parts of the world like mountain communities, country farms, and fishing villages from small artisan producers and local businesses.
That’s both tailored and big thinking! What does the ultimate vision of Profood look like?
We hope Profood can become a point of reference in Hong Kong (and beyond) for high quality, small-scale and nutritious artisanal food. We are also working toward creating more engaging and consumable content to bring people back into kitchen, and make “eating in” the new “eating out”.
That is a hefty yet noble goal. What does an average day look like for you then?
The commute to work is usually when I answer pending emails from the night before, as well as check web stats and updates from the socialsphere. When I get into the office at 9 am I plan out the tasks for the day. These encompass anything from stock and shipping status, order processing and supply chain management, to design and copy for marketing, web, or social media purposes, and so on. At least one day a week I like to take my head out of the micro tasks to focus on alignment, vision and bigger matters that need addressing in order to keep scaling the business.
With such a clear vision, you must be no stranger to adversity. When you face a challenge or problem at work, where do you turn to for advice?
My relationship with challenge is one of trial and error. If the consequences of a given action are not severe then I will do my best to handle it as fast as possible with the resources at hand, whether that be scouring the net for advice or consulting my network of friends, colleagues and acquaintances. For matters of a more serious nature, I will turn to whoever is most equipped to help, and make sure that all stakeholders are on the same page before implementation.
Amongst all this hard work, have you any guilty pleasures?
I have a bit of a (sweet) weak spot for dark chocolate (especially with chili or salt), pistachio and hazelnut gelato, and anything with coconut or taro. Since I started working at Profood the latest addition to this list has got to be toasted bread with butter and our amazing anchovies. Always a big hit at events.
Oh yum! Finally, where does the ardency for what you are doing come from?
Food safety is a big problem in today’s world. Contemporary farming’s faster, fatter, bigger, cheaper dogma has led to an abundance of processed foods and crops containing artificial additives, hormones and toxins that are harmful to our health, have little taste and are putting local producers out of business. We aim to deliver the best of what Mother Nature has to offer from the small and passionate food artisans that set the standards of excellence worldwide, without compromising on quality.
And with that, we sincerely wish you all the best Profood!