April 21 marks the United Nations' World Creativity and Innovation Day. Here at Hive, we value the development of new bright ideas. Our employees are no strangers to the transformative power of creativity and innovation. To celebrate this special day, we have invited Evert Vermandel, our esteemed Lead Innovation Chef at Unilever Food Solutions, to share with us his unique insights and experiences from his work.
Creating innovative food solutions
Evert Vermandel has been working at Unilever for over 25 years now. When asked what keeps inspiring him to create innovations, he says that “following the trends is very important, as is staying connected with chefs and operators in the foodservice business. The world is moving fast, and as the demands of guests are constantly changing, you need to know what the chefs’ needs are.”
Further, he explained that the creative process for developing new food solutions involves finding out what chefs in the food service business need. He works with a team of 240 chefs worldwide to create a benchmark and ensure the product fits the market where it will launch. He clarified that “When innovating a new product, the team always has the end dish in mind, considering how a chef will use it, what kind of dishes it will work best in, and what format works best.” One of our latest creations is the new Knorr Professional Demi Glace and Fonds, which serves as a base for sauces that are not only delicious, but also natural and sustainable. The goal is not only to simplify cooking but also to allow chefs to have more time to experiment with new flavours and techniques.
Future Menus Trend Report
Staying up to date on the latest food trends and innovations is crucial, and the Innovation Chef helps inspire chefs through the Future Menu's trend report. Launched in March, the annual report focuses on the eight most important global food trends, providing descriptions, recipes, and techniques. More than that, the trend report provides ways to build towards greater sustainability in the food service industry, empowering culinary professionals with inspiring the dishes of today and tomorrow.
The United Nations' World Creativity and Innovation Day celebrates creativity and innovation as essential drivers of progress and development. The work of the innovation Chefs at UFS is just one example of how individuals are using their passion for innovation to create positive change in the world.
Advice for Aspiring Chefs
Lastly, when asked to advise aspiring chefs who want to innovate and push the boundaries of culinary creativity, Evert says “Make sure you have a good knowledge of the kitchen basics, that's where everything starts, and that you understand how a kitchen works, meaning what are the pain points, dare to fail and learn from it.”