From there my my next stop on the line was A World Famous Gourmet Food Store Citarella's!! One of New York City's most celebrated fine food stores. Zagat's New York Marketplace Guide called our array "awesome, enticing and amazing" - and that's exactly what you'll find here in our NYC stores. I started as a Butcher but with my ability to communicate was put into the Prepared Food Department rapidly became the Prepared Food Manager setting up holiday demos of products. At Citarella I learned from a friend how to make all kinds of sausage from pork, chicken, turkey, fish to even wild game. I also learned how to set up an impressive prepared food case along with plate presentations.
The Next stop MandM Food Sales a son and father food broker team which saw my ability to sell foods in NYC the Best City in the world!! We represented Blue Ridge Farms Salad company which is now Chloe Foods, County Muffin batter, Davids Cookies, Harvest Bakeries even the Soup Nazi Soup's along with Tumaro's Tortillas. It was here that I learne about presentations for food shows being able to put platters together for a New York City crowd at a major event have people them taste it .... and even like it!!! With some of the products carried and the these relationships built are lasting to this day and have helped me become who I am in the Food Industry. In fact, I did such a great job there than the next stop.
Tumaro's Tortillas was the next step. I became the Regional Sales Manager a position which lasted for 7 1/2 years , covering the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and the Caribbean, it was here that i have been given the opportunity to create any wrap at any food show that I want and done some as crazy as Chocolate with cannoli cream, apple cinnamon quesadillas. I have met with almost all the deli buyers along the East Coast, dealt with crazy trucking issues, from trucks disappearing to just the problems of comingacross county. I have taught myself PowerPoint and other Presentations. From a guy that used to need a travel agent to a person proficient with Microsoft office , WOW that is growth.
Tumaro's was sold to United Natural Brands, a division of UNFI and I was fortunate to be able to continue the journey into the world of foods, but even more so Organic/Natural. Every year i keep learning new things and meeting new people. First I was part of the team that continued to build Tumaro's and specialty foods to direct customers and distributors across the East Coast, then covered the entire US for the Foodservice Tumaro's for 2 and half a years, now we have been able to scale it down to the East Coast including Texas. The team we have built and the people that run with today have made me a much better and mature salesman.
I have had some great mentors along the way who took the time to teach me and round me off as a salesman from negotiating to being a team player. I have worked some of the best teams in the business !
Along the way i have learned at everyplace i have worked. Done the Cornell University Food and Restaurant Program, Lehman College, Westchester Community College and of course "The School of Hard Knocks". Owning two businesses is learning on it's own and not the easiest thing to do!!!
I also was lucky enough to find my other half, we have been together for well over a decade. It is amazing to see how this has grown, we have been there for each other for thick and thin, she puts up with my zaniness, supports my thoughts and recipes, has followed me wherever the roads has lead. We are now in Florida, half way between Miami International Airport and Key Largo, and we just keep building on what we have.
I am also lucky to have the support of my family who through some tough times still believe in me, with friends and business friends and acquiantances that to this day no matter how far we are ..... contact is only a keyboard away.
This page is to continue the Journey, we are far from over
Peace and Love
"The Tortilla Guy" was discovered doing his thing at the IHRS show at the Javitt's Center in New York City.
A Food Industry Professional with over 25 years experience, from selling to running even owning businesses.
I started in the food business working for a New Jersey Butcher where i was taught how to cut different meats, cutlets, make all kinds of sausages. From Butcher Boys of Norwood I stared my first Business "Steve the Steakman" You can't beat my meat...... My loins are your loins.... Strangely enough most of my business centered in not meats but frozen seafood. Servicing Restaurants throughout North Jersey, Rockland, Westchester New York I learned everything from right to billing and accounting.
As with almost all Americans there is a love story here in which while purchasing frozen seafood I was chatting with the secretary there.... and boom love (or what i thought was) so while getting shrimp prices I was able to ger the digits!! I guess even then i was a great wrapper! Next thing you know I am getting married and now living in Westchester still selling frozen seafood but looking for a new opportunities. And whammo we found one..... so we bought a Card and Gift store that was also a Luncheonette in which of course I took charge of. We basically did a breakfast business for people on their way to the city or work anywhere. While the bulk of the business was in newspapers and lotto we did in fact do a large breakfast and coffee, rolls, bagel, muffins cakes, cookies, Danish and all kinds of early morning noshes. Although, after working together and being married, we were not strong enough to make our marrige work, though we did try. So low and behold the Steve Frankls did become a statistic. However, it was a great learning experience of running a larger operation with many more employees.
The Tortilla Guy