Certified Master Chef Tom Griffiths is Global Vice President for Campbell’s Culinary & Baking Institute (CCBI) and is responsible for managing more than 20 highly-credentialed chefs working to increase Campbell’s culinary presence worldwide. Chef Griffiths is one of approximately 70 Certified Master Chefs (CMC) in the United States—the highest level of culinary certification.
Chef Griffiths joined Campbell in February 2010. Previously, he was the Associate Dean of Advanced Global Cuisines at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), where he worked for 15 years in various teaching capacities, and prior to that held chef positions with many renowned establishments in New York city.
What made you want to work for Campbell Soup? Give some insight on why a chef would go to a company rather than a restaurant.
Chef Griffiths: When I first heard about the Campbell position, I was actually in the parking lot of a supermarket, getting ready to pick up groceries for dinner. A friend called and asked if I was interested in joining the corporate world. He told me there was a Culinary Direction position available at Campbell and I rushed in to the supermarket and spent the next hour amazed at the interesting Campbell’s products in the soup area. I spent time researching Prego, Pace and Pepperidge Farm and felt confident I would be proud having my culinary credentials representing Campbell.
It’s very clear to me that Campbell’s leadership understands and respects the art of cooking. Great chefs are all about respect—for the craft, the food, the guests and the process. I have great respect for the experts we have in marketing and our science and culinary teams.
Are people surprised that Campbell has a Culinary & Baking Institute? How do people react when they learn of your background in fine dining?
CG: My culinary colleagues can’t quite understand what I do for Campbell. (laughs) They give me credit for our fantastic commercials and ads and love our new, bolder flavors. I think it’s impressive to people to understand the dedication our CEO Denise has to culinary innovation by building such a highly credentialed global culinary team.
What do you love most about your role at Campbell?
CG: Imagine having the responsibilities I have. I have to make sure our food is delicious, which is very much in my comfort zone, I travel to research trends and network with other chefs from all over the world and I get to work with a strong culinary team and help with their professional growth. I always say I have the best job in the world, especially since I get to do all of that while still supporting the great business platforms we have at Campbell.
What are some of the new Campbell products that you are most excited about?
CG: I love the new, global flavors we are developing by leveraging our expertise in culinary trends. Some of my favorites are the Campbell’s Skillet Sauces, Slow Cookers and Slow Kettle soups. Delivering authentically flavored, delicious foods to our consumers is a passion of mine.
What is your food philosophy?
CG: I’m all about seasonality, proper cooking techniques and respect. Respect runs the kitchen! I also love finger foods… philosophically, it doesn’t get much better than ribs, wings and sushi!
What does a regular weeknight meal look like in your household?
CG: Our youngest, Daniel, is a CIA grad and he’s back home with us. He loves to make flavorful foods, healthy vegetables, seafood and grains and salads. Dan cooks a little on the spicy side so we always try to have some simpler foods too.
My absolute favorites are black cod with honey and soy sauce, roasted squab and eggplant parmigiana with sliced hard boiled eggs layered in… a Calabrese family recipe.
In your opinion, what is the one dish that everyone should learn how to make?
CG: Pasta-with Prego pasta sauce of course! I think one can be content living on pasta for a very long time.
Any tips from an experienced chef for every day cooks?
CG: The most important thing to me is cooking with love! It’s also really nice to organize your cooking so you get to spend more time with your loved ones…my tip is to use Campbell’s Slow Cooker Sauces-a must for relaxed entertaining.
Campbell Soup Company has a dedicated Campbell’s Culinary & Baking Institute (CCBI) that works in collaboration with our Research & Development team to bring new bold, exciting products and flavors to Campbell’s portfolio. Every month, we’ll put the spotlight on one of our chefs to learn more about their passions and how they translate to the Campbell products consumers see on the shelves.