Blount Fine Foods, a manufacturer of handcrafted soups, entrées and side dishes for retail and foodservice, has promoted and added culinary team members.
Jeff Wirtz has been promoted from corporate executive chef to senior director of culinary development, and Clayton Burrows has been promoted to research and development chef.
Joining the company are Mike Maher, culinary business development specialist, and Michael Palmer, foodservice business development representative for the Midwest.
“Jeff Wirtz, who is a respected and award-winning chef and thought leader on the subject of culinary innovation, has been the driving force behind the expansion and elevation of our premium product lines,” said William Bigelow, Blount’s VP of research and corporate development. “Jeff’s instincts for recipe and product development are second to none, and as he has grown as an executive, so too has the culinary function here at Blount Fine Foods.”
Wirtz’s new responsibilities include forming and managing those partnerships the company maintains with its suppliers, especially the organic and “free-from” farmers that are called upon to provide a reliable supply of premium ingredients for Blount products.
Burrows previously served as a quality assurance technician on Blount’s production team.
“Clayton Burrows has worked hard and taken advantage of the personal and career development opportunities here at the company,” said Wirtz. “When we post a job opening, our sincere hope is that the search and interview process demonstrates that the best candidates are actually within the company, which it certainly was in the case of Clayton.”
Maher, who brings more than a quarter-century record of success as a chef and foodservice executive, will work closely with Bob Sewall, Blount’s EVP for sales and marketing, to establish, enhance and expand the company’s relationships
with key accounts. Maher joins Blount from U.S. Foods Dallas, most recently as territory manager for the Southwest division. He also served as a corporate chef for US Foods. According to Blount, Maher’s appointment puts a seasoned executive chef on the sales team on a full-time basis and frees up Wirtz to focus exclusively on culinary development.
“We have brought Mike onto the team to join me out in the field calling on customers, which ensures we bring culinary expertise and perspective to those invaluable conversations,” said Sewall. “He is a first-rate culinary expert who
speaks comfortably and credibly about all aspects of the food industry, and who truly understands our customers’ business opportunities and challenges.”
Maher holds a bachelor’s degree in culinary management from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona. He resides in Rowlett, Texas, and will work out of Blount offices in McKinney, Texas, and Fall River, Massachusetts.
Palmer will be responsible for managing and growing Blount’s foodservice business in the company’s Midwest territory, working out of the company’s office in Chicago. He is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in communications, with a minor in business administration. Blount officials said he has an accomplished sales and account manager with a history of growing accounts and solidifying customer relationships.