John Lennon’s lyric, "Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans," is all too true for accidental food entrepreneur Victor Hendricks of Harrington, executive chef and banquet manager at the Modern Maturity Center, Dover. Marketing his Famous Marinade recipe wasn’t even on his radar. After all, there isn’t a lot of time to spare for someone who often works 30 to 35 straight days for months at a time.
“Although I created the recipe for my marinade while working in the U.S. Navy, finding the time to do all the steps to take it from recipe to marketplace would have been overwhelming,” said Hendricks. It wasn’t until Hendricks was working at the Modern Maturity Center that he began the journey to market his food product.
Hendricks heard about a nonprofit called Shore Gourmet through the USDA, and received the assistance he needed. “Shore Gourmet took a lot of the headache and legwork from the process, making it doable for me,” he said.
Although Victor’s Famous Marinade was originally created for chicken, over the years he discovered that it works well on all meats, including wild game, and his foodie fans agree. In fact, U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, likes it so much he sent Victor a letter of endorsement.
Shore Gourmet of Easton, Md., a service-oriented nonprofit organization, was created to help food product entrepreneurs like Hendricks. Shore Gourmet General Manager Kevin Deighan helped him resolve production issues, decrease production costs, and handle labeling and distribution issues.
Hendricks has been working in the culinary arts field for more than three decades. He served as a U.S. Navy chef where flavor and presentation are crucial. He also worked as private chef for a rear admiral. Within 24 hours of completing his Navy career, Hendricks began working at the Modern Maturity Center. He spent 11 years managing the Meals on Wheels program, before he moved on to the banquet program.
“Working as a Navy chef makes you pay a lot of attention to the art of cooking, both in terms of flavor and presentation. Meals are a big part of morale. You cook every meal as if you are cooking for royalty,” he said. “I now have my own marinade sauce to add to my career achievements.”
Incorporated in 2009, Shore Gourmet is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to promote and sustain food and agricultural value-added businesses by providing free support to local entrepreneurs to start, grow and diversify value-added food products such as local cheeses, sauces and rubs, meats, soups, seafood products and desserts.
Since its inception, Shore Gourmet has been funded mostly by USDA Rural Development and state grants. Shore Gourmet serves Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Delaware. For more information, contact Kevin Deighan at 410-770-4454 or firstname.lastname@example.org or go to shoregourmet.com.