Originally published December 15, 2020.
From gourmet canning at her former Bumpercrop to gourmet food at Sable & Rosenfeld, recipe testing to community feeding; if there’s an industry name you need to know in Toronto, it’s Joanna Sable.
We caught up with Joanna to see how she’s keeping active in a very different year for our industry, and how others with a shared passion for food can join in.
For readers who may not have been virtually introduced yet, we asked Joanna Sable to describe herself and provide some details about her career journey.
Hello, my name is Joanna Sable and you could say I was born into the wonderful world of food! My mother Myra Sable has had a gourmet food company since 1970! I am a Cordon Bleu Chef and I have worked in many areas of the industry throughout my career.
Tell us about your relationship with Branding & Buzzing and some of the work you’ve done together.
My pals Marian and Sean are gems in the industry and we have had wonderful times collaborating on many projects and now with their collective giving hearts, they are helping me feed the hungry through the Seeds of Hope Foundation.
As mentioned, your family is part of the name, and driving force, behind gourmet food company Sable & Rosenfeld. What has been new at S&R lately?
Sable and Rosenfeld has kept themselves at the forefront of gourmet grocery and I am particularly fond of their new dark Whiskey Cherries.
You’re also a top consultant in the restaurant and food business niche. What are some major shifts you have noticed in your clients’ operations this year?
This year has been tough, horrific you might say. But often through adversity, the cream rises to the top and innovative humans excel. We have watched takeout, marketplaces, ghost kitchens and DIY kits soar and I now see a more useful and insightful consumer. They are able to do more things in the kitchen and have better-developed palates.
What advice would you give other food and foodservice operators as they prepare to tackle strategies and pivots for 2021?
My advice used to be to keep yourself in a small box, perfect it and then break free. Now, it is the opposite. Try very hard to do as many things as possible. You will always have a market as long as you have product in your kitchens, so do whatever you can to sell it. Keep a very tight rein on your books and spending. Make sure you use a program that can help with this.
This year, you’ve been very active with Seeds of Hope, a local initiative that allows people to learn and build skills to improve their lives alongside various community-based organizations and social enterprises. How did you first get involved, and what inspired you to do so?
Seeds of Hope is incredible. They offer so much and do it as a privately-funded organization. This works well in my world as I do not conform easily! As the pandemic hit, I had so many friends with hotels and restaurants desperate to make sure all their losses would not end up in the garbage. I was taking food everywhere and SOH and their easy and kind way to be just captured me.
I hate waste, most of us do, but it is insanely difficult to work with government-funded agencies. The rules are most often idiotic and their stringent requirements on best before dates are simply antiquated.
How can others in our industry become involved?
Please check our @best_beforedate on Instagram to see the many who already are helping plus so many who have great ideas about ending food waste.
To help, simply contact me. I can through SOH offer tax receipts for goods given to me. I pick up goods that are perfectly delicious but are past the time you can charge a consumer for them. I also pick up freshly made food to feed so many.
What new projects, milestones or moments can we expect to see from Joanna Sable in the coming seasons?
My gosh, I am not sure. This pandemic has opened my eyes to how very difficult it is to often get a leg up. Major corporations and governments move mostly backwards with task forces and the need to debate. So many know this is not the answer. I have amazing friends both new and old in the food world and most of us are disgusted by the vast waste. Many don’t know how to unload it. That’s me! We will hope and see if more want to join me. Many have already.
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