It is Campbell’s culinary tradition to involve its chefs in product development. Campbell chefs contribute to the research and design process through quality control and product formulation. The company’s culinary history of excellence dates back to the early 1900s and Campbell’s original chefs started a legacy of skill and respect for cooking as an art form.
Chef Louis DeLisle
French chef Louis DeLisle was Campbell’s first Executive Chef, hired in 1902. DeLisle focused on the continual development and refining of Campbell’s Condensed Soups. He worked with Campbell President Dr. John T. Dorrance, the creator of condensed soup, on preparation methods and recipes. DeLisle worked with Dorrance on the formula for Campbell’s Tomato soup, which he called his “godchild.”
During tomato season, chef DeLisle worked each day from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. tasting a new batch of soup every seven minutes! In November 1929, DeLisle was awarded the nation’s second-highest honor, the Order of Chevalier du Merite (Knight of Merit), for his contributions to promoting French cooking around the world.
Chef Eduard Lacourtiere
Chef Eduard Lacourtiere followed in DeLisle’s footsteps as Executive Chef and continued the influence of French cooking at Campbell. DeLisle and Lacourtiere were responsible for formulating over 34 new successful soups, including Chicken Noodle and Cream of Mushroom. Lacourtiere helped develop the formulas for V8, Campbell’s baby food/soups, Franco-American pasta and gravy products, Campbell’s frozen soups and Campbell’s first blended fruit juice launch.
Connecting Culinary to the Consumer
In the 1940s, Campbell established the Home Economics Department, now called the Consumer Test Kitchen, to extend the culinary team to consumers. Chefs worked with home economists to provide consumers with recipes, cookbooks and educational materials to promote the use of Campbell products.
In the 1950s, the culinary staff expanded as new product lines were introduced. Chefs were recruited from all over Europe and appeared in Campbell’s advertising to educate the consumer on Campbell products’ culinary foundation.
Chef Jean L. Michelet & The Campbell Institute for Food Research
From 1965-1988, Chef Jean L. Michelet was Chief Executive Research Chef, Director of Campbell’s Institute for Food Research and responsible for product development. Chef Michelet was a member of the American Culinary Federation’s Academy of American Chefs and the second recipient of the ACF’s Chef of the Year award in 1964.
The Legacy Continues
Campbell’s Institute for Food Research was the predecessor of Campbell’s Culinary & Baking Institute (CCBI). The CCBI is a global network of highly-trained Chefs, bakers and culinary professionals who work to bring new and bold flavors to Campbell’s product portfolio.
Campbell chefs support the culinary innovation process and travel internationally to research trends and network with other Chefs. CCBI releases an annual Culinary TrendScape report that identifies the most dynamic trends to watch and foods that satisfy palettes and inspire culinary creativity.
It is important to reflect on Campbell’s culinary heritage spanning 145 years. Campbell’s Chefs have always honored this legacy by transforming culinary ideas into final products on the shelf.