Why JQI Chose Food & Drink Resources

Heather Harrell of Just Quality International Foods (JQI) approached Food & Drink Resources (FDR) not long after starting her position at JQI as Director of National Account Sales.

“My whole family works in foodservice, so when my mom and sister recommended Chef Katie Sutton at FDR to assist us in culinary development, I quickly reached out to see how FDR could assist us with two new products.”

Heather explained that JQI focuses on unusual or hard-to-find produce like dragon fruit and jackfruit, which means it’s imperative to have strong culinary concepts to support foodservice presentations. As Heather puts it, “in the chain restaurant world, awareness is paramount.”

The Work

“FDR gives us insights into trends and opens our eyes to products that we should source, and they serve as a culinary ambassador in presentations and tradeshows, which is tremendous.”

For example, Heather recalled one of the first presentations Katie gave to a large distributor on behalf of JQI.

“FDR put together recipes and concepts in advance of the meeting, and then Katie flew to Chicago to join us with our client. Everyone was so comfortable with Katie. Her presentation had such energy behind it.”

Since that first presentation, FDR and JQI have worked together on a number of projects including other culinary concept presentations and attendance at the Flavor Experience, a notable industry conference.

“As always, Katie did a great job of understanding what we needed and our goals in working with other chefs and manufacturers. This was an event for 400 people and she anticipated every element – the timing, equipment, venue, recipes, and the crowd. It was a huge success with people asking us for the jackfruit they’d been hearing about on the floor and us taking sample orders right there at the show.”

According to Heather, there are several projects on the horizon for FDR and JQI.

“Because we have such great conversations with and receive such outstanding guidance from FDR we will be able to bring them into multiple projects. It’s a no-brainer.”