Chef Jennifer McCullough, who made "Uptown Grocer" frozen appetizers and entrees a local word of mouth brand name in the Mid-South, is expanding her reach through the help of Kroger.
Chef McCollough's "Chef Jenn" line will be sold in 117 Kroger grocery stores in the tri-state region. She recently received a purchase order from the grocery store chain to sell her new line of "Chef Jenn" products.
"What I wanted to do was develop a brand and that's probably the last 18 months," McCullough said. "I saw the goal and have been working toward it. You met me I was working in a tiny kitchen in an alleyway packing and distributing food locally putting things in the back of my Suburban and driving around town.
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"At that point I knew this is where I wanted to be and I knew what I had to do to get here," she added. "It was a lot of chopping onions and carrying food around and fixing freezers and all of that. But I had to do that to get to this point."
The purchase order from Kroger for "Chef Jenn" products is part of an initial test market across the Delta. If the "Chef Jenn" food line is successful, Kroger will expand.
"That would be Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi," she said. "My products will be in 117 stores in the Delta. My products will go into 70-90 of the stores. If me product is successful it will expand out. So this is a test market and very quickly I will have samples to Atlanta buyers and Mid-South buyers and Mid-Atlantic buyers."
Chef Jenn products will be in your local Kroger frozen foods section beginning in October. In the meantime Chef McCullough says she has even bigger plans for the future.
"I would absolutely love to have a show if I could combine fishing, adventure and food," she said. "I would love it."