DALLAS — Meat alternative food manufacturer Quorn is staking claim on the meat-free chicken category with the opening of its new culinary development center in Dallas.
The new center will be able to test culinary equipment and coating on mycoprotein – the unique super-protein in all Quorn products — in real-time and real conditions, showcasing its efficiency and accessibility. The culinary kitchen is modeled to replicate operations in a variety of restaurant environments, from quick service restaurant to fine dining. The space will also feature a state-of-the-art new product development lab to accelerate innovation to market for the North American business.
A pioneer in the alternative meat space, Quorn's naturally sourced protein is sustainable and provides great nutritional value as a complete protein that is high in fiber, low in saturated fat and contains no cholesterol. Due to the unique taste and texture of Quorn's mycoprotein, Quorn products replicate the experience of eating meat with far less impact on the environment – the key for a "tastes like chicken" meatless experience.
The culinary development center creation and opening was driven by two new leaders in the Quorn Foods U.S. business: President, Judd Zusel and Executive Chef, Stephen A. Kalil.
"I'm excited to join Quorn at a time when the meat alternative category is really taking off," said Quorn President Judd Zusel. "With Chef Stephen at the helm, we are poised to deliver new and exciting meatless chicken innovations creating a significant competitive advantage for Quorn and our retail partners."
Judd Zusel joins the team from Bacardi Global Brands where he served as Vice President and General Manager of The Incubation Brands business unit. Zusel is an expert in creating, launching and accelerating brands in fast-growing categories. Prior to Bacardi, Zusel held Marketing, Innovation and Sales leadership roles at Diageo and Remy Cointreau.
Stephen A. Kalil, better known as Chef Stephen, is an accomplished culinary professional and strategic leader in the field of culinary research and innovation. He's also a passionate foodie, an archivist of traditional Middle Eastern recipes, and a believer that at its core, food is comprised of souls, stories, family, and flavor. Kalil is both a Certified Executive Chef (CEC) with the American Culinary Federation and a Certified Research Chef (CRC) with the Research Chefs Association, where he also served as past president and current board member. He will join Quorn as Executive Chef with more than three decades in the foodservice industry and notable roles at major food brands and companies, including The Cheesecake Factory, Chili's Grill & Bar (Brinker International), PepsiCo and Frito Lay.
A significant investment from parent company Monde Nissin Corp. will also position Quorn for accelerated growth in the U.S. The Philippines-based company will use some of its $1 billion initial public offering proceeds to help instill Quorn as the category leader in chicken alternatives.
"Our ambition is to become the king of alternative chicken globally," said Quorn Chief Executive Officer Marco Bertacca. "With new leadership, our state-of-the-art culinary center and new innovations accelerated by this IPO, we believe we're well-positioned to do just that."