Meet SFPFS Member and culinary consultant Rosemary Mark.
Rosemary specializes in incorporating unique flavors in practical recipes for home cooks and the foodservice industry. Her nutrition-related client projects have included: increasing omega 3-fatty acid consumption through recipe development for the California Walnut Board; and designing child-centric frozen vegetable dishes for a supermarket chain. She has produced recipes for new flavors by Dreyers and Haagan-Dazs® and for pantry staples like Sun-Maid dried fruit and Del Monte vegetables. Other clients have included Driscoll’s, Safeway, The Ginger People, and the Idaho Potato Commission. Her food blog Get Cooking Simply shares healthy recipes and cooking tips.
When did you first decide you wanted to make food your career?
When I was a high school sophomore I wrote to a few women’s magazine food editors – Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal, Good Food, Redbook – and told them my favorite hobby was cooking and asked how I could work in recipe development and testing. They all replied and I still have the letters! They said to take chemistry and organic chemistry in high school and then study Home Economics in preparation for a career with food companies, PR agencies, magazines or supermarkets. Some suggested that I study journalism which I regret to this day that I didn’t do (PS – Dianne Jacob, I needed your coaching!).
How did you get where you are today in the food business?
I interned with the California Egg Board after graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Home Economics and Business. For five years I did sales and marketing for a fresh egg distributor called Rebecca Farms Eggs. My first freelance recipe project was with Golden Grain Pasta in 1993, where I met SFPFS member Mary Margaret Sinnema with whom I still collaborate. Relationships can shape a career for many years! Over the years I developed clients including Sun Diamond, Sun-Maid, Safeway, Driscoll’s, The Walnut Board, Basic American Foods and others.
What is the most exciting thing going on in food right now, in your opinion?
I like that people are interested in fresh, clean cooking. Cooking takes planning, but it doesn’t need to be complicated to prepare food that is tasty and healthy. I also really like the growing awareness of social and environmental impact. I particularly noted this at the Fancy Food show this year and wrote about it here.
What advice do you have for young people who want a career in food?
Consider areas beyond cooking, including ingredient and food product sales as well as ingredient supply chains, where culinary knowledge can be used for marketing and brand support. Also think about whether you want to turn your hobby into a career. There are pros and cons to that.
What is your favorite food experience?
It’s difficult to choose, but one that comes to mind was the longest I ever waited for a meal. We waited 2.5 hours in the most beautiful beachside landscape in Cape Coast, Ghana, at a rustic café run by a Ghanaian man and Croatian woman. I’m sure we were waiting for them to catch our fish because it was the most delicate and best flavor I’ve ever had with their traditional tomato and pepe pepper sauce.
What cookbook could not live without?
I use the internet much more than books, but I am deeply into Ken Forkish’s cookbook Flour Water Salt Yeast and am loving the breads I bake with his formulas.
What is your go-to recipe for entertaining?
When I entertain, I am usually trying out a new idea so guests are usually my recipe taster/testers. I showcase many of my favorite recipes on my Get Cooking Simply blog.
What chefs or blogs do you follow?
I read Kitchn regularly and am impressed with how their online format has developed in such a short time. It is clear and on-trend, with usable content and excellent visuals.
What have you gained from being a member of the SFPFS?
The many connections as resources for client projects, culinary knowledge, and camaraderie as food professionals. Pretty much any time I have a culinary or business question, there is someone in the Society I can ask or they can refer someone to me. And recently this network extended to my daughter in her international job search related to food security (thank you Michele Hennessey, Jo Lynne Lockley, and John Wiest). She is now working in Ghana and Sub Saharan Africa in renewable energy and agricultural development programs.