Catherine Gagnon
VP, Marketing and R&D

CGAlthough a balance between creativity and scientific method is essential when creating great tasting products that are efficient to produce, for many people they are often mutually exclusive skills. Fortunately for Plats du Chef, Catherine Gagnon, our VP of Marketing and R&D has those qualities in equal measure! Since 2001 Catherine has created and optimized some of our most beloved products including Single Serve Oatmeal, Franks in a Blanket and French Onion Soup. Beyond her excellent work on our Cuisine Adventures branded items, Catherine also works closely with our top tier Private Label and Contract Manufacturing customers, too. As our business has grown so has our R&D team so that today Catherine manages and motivates a multi-disciplinary group that includes passionate food scientists, chefs and support staff working in Toronto, Montreal and San Francisco.

Q: Do you find it difficult to stay informed about the latest developments in food and nutrition science?

CG: Keeping up in the food industry is always a challenge because it is changing and evolving at a very fast pace. I like to read specialized magazines to stay up to date on ingredients, packaging and new technology. I am also doing a lot of research on the web to be aware of the last trends and the most recent food industry news.

Q: What’s the most satisfying part of being in research and development?

CG: It’s a wonderful challenge to reproduce on an industrial scale the same flavors and textures of products developed in the kitchen. I enjoy taking an active part in the introduction of new technology in our production facilities that allow us to commercialize products that taste homemade.

Q: Around the office you have a reputation for being a ‘foodie’ in your personal life, is that true?

CG: I like to try different cuisines so my friends and family often give me cookbooks as gifts. I find a lot of inspiration in these books as well as from dining at restaurants. When I eat out I like dishes with delicate and refined flavors that are presented with simplicity, freshness and matched with a great wine pairing!

Q: How did you develop your palate and interest in good food?

CG: My mother cooked a lot when I was growing up and it was important in my family to make good homemade food and to try new ingredients and flavors. I also lived in France for a few months; it was a great experience to be immersed in a culture where food is an art form.

Q: Can you choose a favorite Plats du Chef product?

CG: Our French Onion Soup is, of course, a very good product but the Chicken, Quinoa & Kale is also one my favorite items because it combines nutritious ingredients with a great zesty lemon taste that you can eat anytime.