RD Insight: Retail RD and Retail Chef Collaboration Through the Eyes of Sue Moores

RD Insight: Retail RD and Retail Chef Collaboration Through the Eyes of Sue Moores

July 23, 2014

by Amanda Rubizhevsky

What are the various ways retail dietitians can work with retail chefs?

There are loads of opportunities. Both of our roles are to help shoppers eat well.  Chefs have the culinary "chops" to create delicious foods – dietitians have the nutrition smarts and appreciate that health and flavor go hand in hand.  Nutrition info is pretty useless if not translated into food people eat.  RDs can and should collaborate with chefs to empower shoppers – help them feel competent, enlightened, and capable.

What are some ideas for retail RD and retail chef collaboration:

  • Recipe and meal ideas that are featured in the store, through media, etc.  
  • How recipes are presented
  • Co-teach classes
  • Create collateral materials
  • RDs can learn from chefs and we can "challenge" them to help us impart meaningful information

Do you have any tips on how retail RDs can establish a  relationship with their retail chef?

Find out what interests your chefs.  Most people have something that interests them on the health front.  Get to know your chef: what questions they may be hearing from staff or customers.  Be inquisitive: let them know you wish to learn from them. Be available: recognize their talents and leverage those to complement yours.  AND…be real.  Eating well is very much a "gray" proposition – not a black and white one. There's wiggle room and a fudge factor to helping people eat well.

What does the relationship actually look like? How involved are you in recipe creation, idea generation, tasting, etc.?

I could probably be classified as a culinary weakling. I can work my way around a kitchen, appreciate good foods and know what foods and flavors work and delight the palate, but I'm not much of a recipe aficionado.  I can bring ideas to Chef Rachael, offer suggestions, etc. but fully recognize where I lack expertise and appreciate her ability to get us to our goals. She comes to me for vetting recipes, composing health messages about recipes, products, meals, etc.  She helps me understand the best way to put foods together for our healthful food demos, how to jigger recipes to get them to meet our criteria, or how we can't jigger recipes to meet our criteria.

What are some of your favorite recipes or campaigns that have come out of working with your retail chef?

We have a kiosk filled with Dinner Tonight suggestions that meet our Good Foods for Good Health criteria – they're wonderful dinners Rachael created and I evaluated and offered input on to make them memorable meals.  We're also creating "guides" to help people learn how to cook, handle, and store certain foods.

Are customers responsive to the menus or items you’ve helped create? How?

People want to feel accomplished in their kitchens, but may be hesitant to ask staff how to roast cauliflower or pick a perfect pineapple.  We're collaborating to make shoppers feel at ease and happy about what they're producing in their kitchens.  The tagline for Kowalski's Markets is "the joy of good food" and that's how Rachael and I approach our work.  What we produce alone and together is about making people happy with their food.

About Sue Moores:

Sue Moores is "all in" on helping people understand how foods affect health and how to use that understanding to live a better life. She offers a practical approach to good health while never losing sight of the big picture – enjoying the great taste of good food.  Sue holds both a bachelor and masters degree in food science and nutrition. For six years she served as a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. She is an advisor to the University of Minnesota's graduate and undergraduate nutrition programs. She also developed the Good Foods for Good Health program for Kowalski’s Markets to help guide shoppers on positive things they can do to eat well. In addition, Sue started Roots for the Home Team, which puts the fun of healthful foods back on forks while creating life-enhancing, influential opportunities for youth.  

About Rachael Perron:

Rachael Perron is Kowalski's Culinary Director and recent winner of the FMI Supermarket Chef Showdown competition. For more on Rachael and what Kowalski’s is up to, read more here.