Pepperidge Farm #PuffDay14

#puffday 14 at Pepperidge Farm Innovation Center in CT. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI mentioned a few weeks ago that I was in NY for a super quick trip.  But I wasn’t just in NY.  For one whole day I had the chance to go to Connecticut and visit the Pepperidge Farm Innovation Center for their #PuffDay14 event.  It was kind of the coolest thing ever.  For SO many reasons.  So how did I get invited, I bet you are wondering.  I totally won a contest!!! Tori (in the photo all the way to the right) of Thoughtfully Simple was already working with Pepperidge Farm on their Puff Pastry product.  She hosted a contest on her site and I got chosen to accompany her to their headquarters.  Fun, right!?  There were seven other gals invited so it was super intimate and we had a blast!  And it is such a small world.  That is Cheri, of Adventures in the Kitchen, standing next to me.  Turns out she lives 15 minutes from me and used to work with one of my best friends!

@hostesstori and I at Pepperidge Farm #PuffDay14 event //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe got a tour of their massive facility and got to see their testing rooms, a small-ish factory where they test out new ideas for products, their employee cafe (yes – this is worth mentioning especially because you can order dinner to take home with you on your way out! Genius!) and so much more.  We got to hang out in their test kitchen area and met tons of Pepperidge Farm staff, from the culinary side, marketing, packaging, development, etc.  It was so neat to hear from all the different people and see the crazy amount of teamwork it takes to create and market each individual product.  This is a well oiled machine, folks.  

Margaret Rudkin created Pepperidge Farm and her story is one of love. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comBut I learned something about how the company got started that really surprised me.  The company was started by a lady named Margaret Rudkin.  She was a mom to three boys, one of which had severe food allergies and asthma.  She created the very first Pepperidge Farm product, bread, so her son had something more to eat since he couldn’t eat what was on the market.  As a mom of a kid with food allergies, I find this so amazing.  She perfected the product then sold it at local grocery stores, starting the amazing company that exists today.  This wasn’t a company that started out with the goal of making millions.  This company was started out of a mother’s love for her child.  On one hand I’m super surprised that this story is not more well known.  On the other, I think it is kind of awesome that the story isn’t being used for it’s marketing value.  And so I love Pepperidge Farm.

Product tasting at Pepperidge Farm Innovation Center in CT for #PuffDay14 //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd you know I love my snacks so I was PUMPED when we got to taste test some products.  Some were new flavors that aren’t even on the market yet.  And some were top sellers.  FYI those Goldfish puffs are gluten free!  Who knew!  Then we got a chance to sit with the Maria Gamble, executive chef of Campbell’s Culinary and Baking Institute.  She went over food trends with us and how her team analyzes those reports to figure out how to be at the forefront of what is happening in the food world.  I found this part crazy interesting.  And the information she shared with us totally came in to play for the next portion of our day.

@hostesstori and I working on our competition plates // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comimage credit: rob loud (OMG – go check out his site.  As someone who fooled around with music photography for a minute I’m in awe of these images!  And as a music lover, I’m geeking out about all the rad people he’s shot!)

Each team was invited to participate in a friendly cooking competition.  We used some of the trends Maria told us about when creating the dishes.  Tori and I were super nervous!  But we had a blast.  And the awesome chefs encouraged us and helped us with anything we needed.  Chef Erin even helped us figure out where to eat in NYC later that night.  She was all kinds of cool.

Instagram of an instagram at #puffday14 //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comimage credit: rob loud

Of course we had to instagram.  And instagram of instagraming.

Hearing the judging results during the competition portion of #puffday14 // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comimage credit: rob loud

And it wasn’t at all awkward to have our food judged by executive chefs and corporate professionals.  And have that judging and the rest of the day filmed…(I hope you can hear my sarcasm).  I really tried to get the boom mic operator to knock someone on the top of the head with it.  Just once.  But he wouldn’t.  They were really professionals.  

Brazilian inspired appetizer with @puffpastry #puffday14  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOur first dish was a play on a monte cristo sandwich (Yes, I like monte cristos.  So.)  Based on food industry data showing that Brazilian-influenced foods are on the rise (thank you, World Cup!) we added in a little guava paste to the salty ham and cheese.  And of course we made it on Puff Pastry which was flakey and delicious.  Tori is sharing the Monte Cristo recipe here!

The @puffpastry appetizer that @hostesstori and I made.  Yogurt with passion fruit jelly and black pepper served in a puff pastry cup with a blackberry basil drizzle.  Yum. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comimage credit: rob loud

Our second dish included the trend of using yogurt in a more savory way.  Which we kind of ignored on accident.  We mixed the yogurt and some passion fruit jam for the filling.  And then added lots of fresh cracked black pepper to bring in a savory component.  We topped it with a blackberry basil drizzle.  It definitely played more sweet than savory but the pepper added this really cool bite to it.  I think Pepperidge Farm might be gathering these recipes and when they do, I’ll make sure to come back and link to them. 

@hostesstori and I with Pepperidge Farm president Irene Chang Britt //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThey provided us with an amazing lunch which we got to eat with President of Pepperidge Farm and Senior Vice President of Global Baking and Snacking.  Is that the best title ever, or what!?  Mrs. Britt was so gracious and kind and it was lovely to speak with her about the company and also women in business.  She’s a cool lady.  Everyone at the company made us feel welcomed and were lovely.

The gals from #puffday 14 at the Pepperidge Farm Innovation Center // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comimage credit: rob loud

And it was great meeting all the other gals in attendance: Cheri, Lori, Erin, Glory, Bethany, Sandy, Rebecca, me and Tori.  Btw, Lori and Erin won the competition.  Tori and I didn’t cry.  We just made up for it with drinks later that night.  And dessert.  And then more drinks.

raspberry chocolate milano cookies #puffday14 // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIt was such a rad experience to see how a huge company like Pepperidge Farm is run.  I am so grateful I had the opportunity to see it and experience a little bit of what their company and culture is about.  Tomorrow I’ll be sharing all the cool places I went in New York.  But do you know what didn’t suck?  Coming home to a basket full of Pepperidge Farm goodies as a thank you for coming.  Those cookies were gone in 2 seconds flat.  Apparently my two boys are big fans.

THANK YOU! for having me Pepperidge Farm and the Puff Pastry team!  It was an honor to be at your facility and you can now consider me a loyal customer for life.

Pepperidge Farm and their ambassadors, including Tori, are hosting a Twitter party on Wednesday, June 11 and you’re invited!  Find all the details here.

*This is not a sponsored post.  I won a trip via a blog contest.  All opinions are my own.

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Comments

  1. I love the story of how it started!!

  2. Monika B. says:

    What an amazing experience! I love the story behind the founder too. My kids were all allergic to dairy until the age of 2 so I understand how she feels! The food you made looks amazing too. I’ve always wanted to make something with puff pastry!

  3. This is probably the coolest thing EVER!! I love the Instagram of Instagramming. I mean seriously that’s an insta-classic! I love Pepperidge Farms, thanks for the look inside!!

  4. Wow! That is amazing! It looks like you had a great time. I love the story of Margaret and how she started the company. P.S. That Monte Cristo sandwich looks fantastic…

  5. Wow I never knew that about their founder, very cool.

    Looks like you had fun. Happy I got to spend time with you and Tori the night before too!

  6. This trip to Pepperidge Farm looks amazing, so happy that you go to go and experience this! xo

  7. How much fun would this have been!? Looks like you guys had a blast & I think that is great that sent YOU a thank you gift, how cool is that? ;)

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  1. […] love New York!  I was beyond excited that we got to stay in the city for #PuffDay14.  Tori and I discussed the trip before hand and we both knew that we wanted to pack in as much […]

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