Will Creation Gardens be kitchen labor savior with produce firm acquisition?

Here’s at least one possible solution to the cursed nationwide kitchen labor shortage: Louisville-based Creation Gardens, a foodservice distribution company, just acquired ReFresh Produce of Cincinnati. According to a news release, the firm specializes in fresh-cut processed produce offerings, which for chefs means less knife work required by their already limited staffs.

“With the restaurant industry experiencing explosive growth, increasing wages and high turnover, this addition is a valuable service for chefs to access fresh and quality fresh cut produce,” the release read. “This new line and service extension will be advantageous to foodservice operators and allow them to manage labor costs without jeopardizing quality.”

Ron Turnier, president of Creation Gardens, also said in the release that, “We spend a lot of time talking face to face with chefs on what they want, and we know this is something they really need given current and future labor shortages.”

It remains to be seen whether chefs buy those products since though they are labor saving, they’re costlier due to the labor required to prepare them. It’s an interesting balance chefs must strike in this difficult operating environment, and one we’ll discuss on this week’s Eat. Drink. Talk. podcast with Dean Corbett, chef and owner of Equus and Jack’s Lounge and Corbett’s: An American Place. Trust me, the labor shortage is a hot-button issue with this outspoken and passionate chef.

If you’re not familiar with Creation Gardens, it’s distributor of produce, butchered meats, gourmet foods, dairy, paper and bulk staple items to many of the city’s top restaurants. In other words, if you’re reading this story, you’re likely the type who’s frequented such restaurants and eaten their foodstuffs.

by steve coomes

Steve Coomes is a restaurant veteran turned award-winning food, spirits and travel writer. In his 25-year career, he has edited and written for multiple national trade and consumer publications including Nation's Restaurant News and Southern Living. He is a feature writer for Edible Louisville & The Bluegrass, Whisky Magazine, WhiskeyWash.com and The Bourbon Review. The author of two books, "Country Ham: A Southern Tradition of Hogs, Salt & Smoke," and the "Home Distiller's Guide to Spirits," he also serves as a ghostwriter for multiple clients.

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