Yorkshire Valley Farms is pleased to be partnering with entrepreneur and healthy food advocate David Marcus of David’s Condiments to launch a new Lemon Herb Spice Rub Chicken at select Longo’s locations. If you ever have the chance to meet David, and you just might since he manages all his demos himself, you’ll quickly feel his passion and energy for creating low-sodium, preservative-free spice rubs and marinades. We recently chatted with David to learn more about how he got into the food business, what makes him love his job so much, and what his favourite way to enjoy chicken is.
What is your background? What made you decide to become a food entrepreneur?
I have always had an entrepreneurial interest. I am an accountant by training, with a specialization in retail. Over the years, I had the opportunity to work with many successful retail brands within Canada. My work involved quite a bit of travelling. Getting home for the weekend, the last thing I wanted was another meal out. I found myself really looking forward to a home cooked meal. For me, cooking is therapeutic. Then I met my wife, who is a qualified Chef. We would cook together for friends and family, and our guests were always lining up for an invitation to dine at our house.
When health concerns within our family caused us to change our eating habits, I discovered what was possible in terms of flavourful cooking without salt. My father went in for routine heart surgery 3 weeks before my wedding. He did not come through the surgery. My father-in-law went in for similar heart surgery weeks later. He survived, but major lifestyle changes were required, including having to go on a salt-free diet. Over the next 3 years, my wife and I put a real emphasis on salt-free cooking to suit his dietary needs. Even with the changes, our friends were always so complimentary of our cooking. Eventually a friend with a retail outlet convinced me to bottle my spices. The labels are hand drawn by my wife. That was 3.5 years ago. Now David’s Condiments are sold across Canada and in the U.S.
Your slogan is “Made from the heart for the heart”. Can you tell us more about your emphasis on heart healthy products?
The whole product line is motivated by my family. After seeing the changes required to ensure a healthy lifestyle for my father-in-law, I knew there were more people who would benefit from this kind of salt-free seasoning. Even our friends who had no need to reduce their sodium intake were complimentary of my cooking. Right from the beginning our emphasis was on products that do not contain salt. We really believe in the benefits of a reduced-sodium diet. In fact, a percentage of our profits go back to heart health research, specifically around dietary impact on cardiovascular health.
What has the response been to your low-sodium offering?
We have found that our products appeal to a range of consumers, not just those with low-sodium dietary needs. There are so many shoppers out there who are health conscious and who are simply looking for healthier options for themselves and their families. Many moms want products where they can actually pronounce all the ingredients on the label. They want to feel good about the choices they are making for their kids. We also get positive feedback from a lot of students. They are cooking for themselves for the first time and are trying to eat healthy. Our rubs and marinades make it easy for them to add a lot of flavour in a healthy way.
You are working with Longo’s and Yorkshire Valley Farms to develop an exclusive rub for a new prepared chicken offering. Tell us more about the process of developing a new product.
Longo’s has been a leader in looking to offer a healthier product range in their stores. The partnership between Yorkshire Valley Farms and David’s Condiments was a natural fit. To develop a product, we look at what flavor combinations we like, which pairings work well, and then see how we can create great flavor without adding salt. The first ingredient in so many products is salt, but here’s no salt in our products. We started our business with David’s steak rub, which is a tastier, healthier version of a Montreal steak rub. Then came David’s Spicy, a spicier version of the steak rub. To perfect our flavours, we also take feedback from consumers. They tell us what flavours they are looking for and we figure out how we can create that combination for them.
The Lemon Herb Spice Rub used for the prepared chicken is exclusive to Longo’s. Can you tell us more about the flavours of this recipe?
For this spice rub, we use the powerful flavour of herbs. We’ve added lemon peel, lemon oil, and lemon seasoning, then added garlic flakes and black pepper to bring it life. It’s made with all natural ingredients. Here’s a bonus: because of all the lemon it’s high in vitamin C, providing 10% of the Recommended Daily Allowance.
What is your favourite way to enjoy chicken?
I am cooking all the time, using different ingredients and experimenting. For me, the flavour of a whole organic chicken is night and day compared to conventional. Organic chicken is just so much more flavourful! I like to butterfly a whole chicken. I marinate it with olive oil and a sprinkle of my chicken rub and let it rest overnight in the fridge. When I am ready to cook the chicken, I add fresh lemon juice. Or I like chicken with my Piri Piri rub.
What’s next for David’s Condiments?
Continuing to develop healthy food products that make people happy! I love cooking for people. Food puts smiles on people’s faces. I never got the same reaction from dealing with numbers in accounting. People relate to food; they enjoy good food. Creating that experience for people is so gratifying. A customer came up to me at a demo and revealed his scar from heart surgery. He was so thankful to have a product that complies with his diet. All I can think is “What a fantastic day. I’ve had a positive impact on someone’s life.” For me, helping people to live a healthier life, what could be better than that?
To learn more about David’s Condiments, visit davidscondiments.com
You can find the new Lemon Herb Spice Rub Whole and Half Chicken in The Kitchen at these Longo’s locations:
Maple Leaf Square, 15 York St, Toronto
York Mills, 808 York Mills Road, Toronto
Aurora, 650 Wellington St E, Aurora
North Oakville, 338 Dundas Street East, Oakville
Leaside, 93 Laird Dr, Toronto
Rutherford, 5283 Rutherford Rd, Woodbridge
Bayview, 7355 Bayview Ave, Thornhill