EXCLUSIVE — Chef Creations, the Manny Garcia company that produces wholesale soups and sauces for restaurants and retail operations, has been sold to Kettle Cuisine, a Boston-area food manufacturer. The deal, which was finalized Friday, was a cash sale for an undisclosed amount.
Hal Valdes, CEO of Chef Creations, told SJO that Kettle Cuisine would move the operations to Massachusetts and that most of the 114 people who worked at Chef Creations’ 40,000 square foot processing plant near Orlando International Airport would be given severance packages. Staff members were being told of the sale Monday afternoon. Executives from Kettle Cuisine are in Orlando to attend the meetings with management regarding the sale. It’s Kettle’s intention, Valdes said, to have all operations shifted to Boston by the middle of July.
Valdes said that Kettle Cuisine would retain some people in the sales department and one person in research and development. They would operate out of Orlando and Las Vegas.
The concept for Chef Creations began during the days of Pebbles restaurant, Garcia’s popular casual dining concept that opened in the 1980s. He saw a need for a company that could provide consistent, high quality, ready-to-use food products to restaurants.
Valdes would not divulge details of the sale but said that “it was good for everyone." He added that he was turning over a financially profitable company: "We had our best January ever, and February is on track to be the best ever, too.” Chef Creations is said to have sales of more than $20 $28 million annually.
Kettle Cuisine focuses mainly on soups, chilis and chowders for foodservice and supermarket operations. Chef Creations did have some of its products available directly to consumers, through Costco, for example, but ironically not in Florida.