Chef Ron Hendren
Senior Vice President & Corporate Executive Chef
As senior vice president and corporate executive chef at Harry’s Fresh Foods, Ron Hendren faces some unique challenges. Chief among them is translating recipes to accommodate very large-scale production without compromising the integrity of the original. Fortunately, this is Chef Hendren’s specialty. He has a knack for transferring the subtle flavors of a single serving into a consistent, high quality large- scale recipe — from one gallon to 1,000 gallons. Ron also modifies recipes to meet the tastes of regional audiences throughout the U.S. and Canada.
“To maintain and exceed Harry’s reputation, it’s imperative that the finished product is of exceptional quality and is consistent every time it is made, whether it’s one serving, one gallon or 1,000 plus gallons,” says Ron Hendren.
While Ron had always dreamed of becoming a chef, his culinary career did not begin until he was 38-years-old, when he enrolled at the Western Culinary Institute. After graduating, he held an internship at the Multnomah Athletic Club (MAC) in Portland, Ore. and later helped introduce in-store Chinese kitchens to Cub Foods stores. Ron is a member of the International Association of Food Technologists (IFT), the Research Chefs Association, the American Culinary Federation, and the Chefs de Cuisine Society. Additionally, Ron is a regular participant in community fundraising events.
In 1990, he had a chance meeting with Rod Harris, owner of Harry’s Fresh Foods, and was hired on the spot as head chef of the then very small food manufacturing company. At the time, annual sales were $800,000 and employees totaled 16. Fifteen years later, Ron serves as the senior vice president and corporate executive chef of the company, which now boasts sales of more than $50 million and a staff of 225.
“I feel vindicated every time I see a consumer trying a product and then going back again and again for repeat purchases,” explains Ron. “No one has time to cook anymore. Our products provide the consumer with chef- prepared meals and meal components they can feel good about serving their families.”
Currently, Ron oversees 388 active recipes at Harry’s. When he’s not masterminding Harry’s next product, Ron enjoys traveling and sampling regional American cuisine. He lives in Portland with his wife, Lori, and their two sons.
Harry’s Carrot Soup with Ginger and Lime
Developed by Ron Hendren
Serves 6- 8
Cook the ginger, garlic and onion gently in the oil for 10 minutes until soft but not brown. Add the carrots, onions and stock. Cook until the vegetables are tender. Cool a little and puree in a blender, add the cream, milk, lime juice, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Ladle into bowls, garnish with lime slices and a dollop of sour cream. Serve warm or cold.
* Homemade stock is great if you have the time, if not, try “Better than Boullion Vegetable Base” made by SuperiorTouch at www.superiortouch.com