Tips for Selling to Chefs

Adam Kaye’s great grandfather was a butcher, his grandfather was a spice miller, and his parents are caterers. Cooking is in his blood. As Vice President of Culinary Affairs at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Adam sources vegetables, fruit, and meat for the restaurant from more than 25 farms in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts.

For beginning farmers who are interested in selling their product to chefs, Adam offers six pieces of advice:    

1. Grow a “gateway crop”

Unusual varieties will pique a chef’s interest, giving you a better foot in the door.

2. Provide samples

The flavor and quality of a product speak louder than words.

3. Be consistent and reliable

Timely deliveries and good communication make for healthy business relationships.

4. Sell your product

Don’t be shy. Offer to speak with the chef and his or her staff directly. Invite them to visit the farm. Talk about your agricultural practices in a compelling way that highlights the uniqueness of your products.

5. Be flexible

Menus change constantly and chefs can be fickle—be patient and adaptable.

6. Extend your season

Winter months are the hardest time for chefs to source locally, especially in the Northeast. Unique winter offerings are a surefire way to grab a chef’s attention.

Originally published on February 7, 2014

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